Anne Monoky was walking through New York City’s Central Park park six months ago with her three sons when the unthinkable happened.
While on their morning stroll, an elm tree that weighed about 3,000 pounds suddenly tipped over and fell on top of them, breaking Monoky’s neck in four places and breaking her nose. She also received 10 staples in her head to close a massive wound.
Her 4-year-old son, who was being pushed in a stroller, fractured his skull.
In a video posted online, Monoky’s baby boy who she had been carrying around in a carrier strapped to her chest, was cradled by a jogger while her 2-year-old was tended to by a police officer. Both suffered only minor bruises.
In a video of the aftermath of the incident, good Samaritans were seen trying to lift the tree to rescue Monoky.
She remains in a neck brace, and announced Monday that she is suing the city and the Central Park Conservancy for $200 million, claiming more could have been done by park authorities to prevent the incident after it was found that the 72-foot tree’s roots were decayed.
“I’ll never forget what it was like to fear for our three boys’ safety and well-being,” Monoky said in a statement to the press on Monday. “I’m lucky to be alive.”
Inside Edition caught up with arborist Matt Weibel of SavATree, to examine some of the trees in the park.
Weibel pointed out some hollow parts of a tree by using a rubber mallet, indicating that the tree has some sort of decay. Mushrooms among the base of a tree are also an indication of decay.
“We never thought anything like this would ever happen to us and we just don’t want anyone to have to go through it,” Monoky said. “It’s horrible.”
Trees throughout Central Park are inspected every year, and cut down if they’re found to show any signs of rotting.