By Heather Janssen

DAVIS (CBS13) – Many questions still surround what led to a tree limb in Davis breaking off and crushing a woman in a park Tuesday.

CBS13 walked the area with an arborist Wednesday who said most of the trees in Slide Hill Park are in good condition, except for a couple of them. Among the two trees of concern is the one that lost a limb and killed a woman when it crushed her.

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“It breaks my heart knowing what happened here,” said Daniel Hovarter, an arborist with Tree Services Sacramento. “These two trees are gigantic red flags.”

Neighbors are heartbroken, too.

“Horrible – just horrible. We’re devastated,” said Mary Draffan, who lives around the corner. “The messages started flying – are you okay? Is everything okay? We still don’t know the name.”

Davis’ Urban Forest Manager, Rob Cain, told CBS13 on Tuesday it was the first time something of this nature had ever happened. But others in the neighborhood say it may have only been the first time it turned deadly.

“It’s been happening all over town,” said Sophia Gonzalez.

She said just over a year ago, a city tree limb broke off and landed on her dad’s car. She’s been concerned ever since.

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“It’s a little frightening – especially with the wind blowing. I just never know, when’s the next one going to fall?” Gonzalez said.

It’s still unclear if the wind was a factor in the tree-limb tragedy. The city did not return any calls for questions on Wednesday, apparently still investigating the reason.

When the arborist, Hovarter, looks at the tree’s long-term life, he said it’s clear.

“One, two, three, four terminal limb failures in the past. This tree has shown you multiple times, I’m in decline,” Hovarter said.

Cain, with the city, said they’re supposed to check trees every seven years, but there’s been a backlog. Though they did not answer why a backlog exists.

According to Davis police, the tree in question was last inspected in November 2019.

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Hovarter said by his judgment, without putting blame on anyone, he said it’s likely been a few years since the tree began to fail, but called the entire incident preventable.

Heather Janssen