Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
anyone know why the tourne was closed today??
As family mourns, trees are checked where woman killed
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
BY BILL SWAYZE AND AL FRANK
After a gray, rainy week, Jeannie Wang, her husband, two children and her father were outside, taking a carefree Sunday morning walk in a Mountain Lakes park. It was windy, but that didn't bother them. Wang was busy with a camcorder in hand, capturing a family moment.
That's when a 7-foot, 100-pound tree limb fell some 30 feet onto the 38-year-old Parsippany mother's head, knocking her unconscious just before noon right in front of her family at Richard Wilcox Park.
A bystander with a cell phone dialed 911 and while small branches fell on them, police Sgt. Steve Ough and patrolman Mark Zacchini tried to resuscitate her, using a defibrillator for about 30 minutes. But they couldn't revive her. She was pronounced dead at Saint Clare's Hospital in Denville, police said.
"It was horrible. ... It was so windy," Jiapeng Zhao, Wang's husband, said yesterday in the Jannele Boulevard home the couple bought two years ago. Looking at his boys, 1-year-old Eric and 6-year-old Kevin, who is a first-grader at Northvail Elementary School, he added, "I just can't believe their mother is gone."
The death spurred an examination by borough arborist John Linson of the trees along the main trails in the park, which will remain closed until the job is done. Weak, rotting limbs will be removed if possible, said Mountain Lakes Police Chief Robert Tovo.
The family was walking along the Birchwood Loop Trail, which circles Birchwood Lake in the 200-acre park. The borough's shade tree commission, of which Linson is a member, inspects those areas once a year, looking for signs of tree trouble, Borough Manager Gary Webb said.
"Certainly, our sympathies are with the family, and our hearts and our prayers go out to them. It's just a tragic accident," he said.
Surveying the scene yesterday, officials pointed out the branch that struck Wang with a break that appeared gray, as though it had been exposed to the sun for a period of time.
"There was no way to predict what happened," Tovo said. "And there was no way to prevent it."
The wind started to pick up at 10 a.m., and between noon and 4 p.m., gusts were clocked at 45 miles per hour, with a low of 30 miles per hour, said Stephen Pellettiere, meteorologist and owner of ION Weather in Hanover. The combination of a week's worth of rain, wind and rotting limbs, was a recipe for trouble, he said.
Certified tree expert Gary Lovallo of Old Bridge said, "All that water adds weight to branches," and if the limb was brittle and weak, add heavy gusts of wind, "that could have been a factor why that happened."
Neighbors are bewildered.
"Jeannie was a very charming lady, it's unbelievable," said Rajeev Aggarwal, their next door neighbor. "I don't know how he's going to manage with the two small kids."
As their home was being built, Aggarwal said he and his wife frequently sought their future neighbors' advice on dealings with the contractor. After moving into the home in May, "We used to see each other all the time. I'm still in shock."
Funeral arrangements by the Par-Troy Funeral Home were incomplete yesterday.
Jeannie Wang was a global product manager at Becton Dickinson & Co. in Franklin Lakes, a medical technology company, where she worked since July 1988.
"We are greatly saddened by the loss of Jeannie Wang," said Stephen Sichak Jr., worldwide president of pre-analytical systems, the unit in which she worked. "Jeannie brought great enthusiasm and insight to her work and will be truly missed as a friend and a colleague. Our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences go out to her family."