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Caltrans to pay $16.4M to woman, 75, after a tree fell on her near Warner Springs

Caltrans closes lanes of SR-67 near Ramona for construction
Posted at 5:37 PM, May 12, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The California Department of Transportation is on the hook for $16.4 million after a tree fell on a 75-year-old woman, according to court documents obtained by ABC 10News.

Jane Neely of San Diego County, says in August of 2020 she was riding her motorcycle northbound State Route 79 near Warner Springs when a massive branch from a tree broke and fell across the roadway, crushing her beneath.

Neely says she’s now a paraplegic and will need care for the rest of her life. She’d argued in court that Caltrans did not properly maintain the tree.

In court documents, Caltrans admitted that it is liable for the injuries.

"At the time the branch fell, and for a substantial period prior to the moment the branch feel, the Subject Tree was compromised and unstable and posed a substantial risk of injury to members of the general public who drove on SR-79. The tree was compromised for long enough for Caltrans to have protected against its failure by removing the tree."

ABC 10News reached out to Caltrans Thursday afternoon for a comment and have yet to hear back.