ARLINGTON, Va. (FOX 5 DC) — FOX 5 obtained county Parks and Recreation Department work orders that show numerous complaints about low-hanging or falling limbs on a path just weeks before a woman was killed there last month.
The woman, 67-year-old Louise Peabody, died after a limb from an 80-foot oak tree fell on her on June 27 at Lucky Run Park off South Walter Reed Drive.
According to records of service requests, several complaints about the trees were documented in early June, three weeks before the accident.
In the days after Peabody's death, Arlington County officials told FOX 5 the most recent complaint was received in May 2018, but now a county spokeswoman says that information was not as detailed as what FOX 5 uncovered through a public records request.
A complaint on June 6 documents "a partially fallen tree over the trail."
County officials say they respond to tree complaints regularly and maintain they never got a complaint about the tree that killed Peabody. They also say they examined the limb and determined it was healthy.
It is unclear why the limb fell.
Neighbors say they have been scared to walk with their pets and families since the incident and expect the county to increase maintenance of the trees along the path.
"The path here is a real paradise and a neighborhood treasure but it needs to be better maintained," said neighbor Sarah Marjane.
"It’s scary to be honest. This is an incident that obviously could happen to anyone at any time," said Kelly Sanders, another neighbor.
In a statement, Arlington County said in part, "Arlington County has 120,000 trees under our stewardship. We have nearly 49 miles of paved multi-used trails; and additional hiking trails to explore. Safety is our number one concern. Our teams regularly monitor the trails and trees as part of our normal course of business; and take action as needed. Examination of the fallen tree limb on June 27th indicates it was healthy."