Posted on Aug 05, 2013

Sunday night a pregnant woman was killed when a 60-foot oak tree fell over and crushed her. She was sitting on a bench by a lake in a Queens park when the incident occurred. Yingyi Li was expecting a baby girl in three months was killed in Kissena Park around 6pm.

Aleksandar Dikov, Li’s husband, told the New York Post that Li was a great and loving person. He knows he’ll never find someone like her. The tree toppled on a slope near the Kissena Lake before smashing into the bench where the 30-year-old victim was sitting.

According to Salvatore Delligatti, a 64-year-old witness, the tree just crushed her.

Within minutes, an ambulance arrived on the scene and Li was taken to New York Hospital Queens, located on Main Street, where she was pronounced dead. Dikov, told reporters that the couple had just celebrated their first anniversary in June and was planning on moving to Oak Avenue in Flushing.

Some parkgoers claim that the city’s Parks Department has not done a good job maintaining the space. Artie Latieri said that the trees are old and a lot need to be taken out before somebody else gets hurt. State Senator Tony Avella, was in the park last night and stated that the city should be spending its resources on maintaining trees rather than planting them.

A spokesperson from the Parks Department failed to return a request for comment last night. 

Li is not the first person to have been gravely affected by the lack of maintenance of the park.

In June a tourist from Indiana was injured after a tree branch fell on her. In 2010, a 6-month-old baby was killed and her mom injured by a falling branch near the Central Park Zoo. A man from Brooklyn was killed by a branch in Central Park in 2010. A Google engineer was severely injured by a falling branch in central Park in 2009.

Senator Avella asks an important question: “How many incidents have to happen before we recognize we are not maintaining existing trees?”


In cases involving trees that fall and injure, maim or kill, we would need to show that the City through its agents and employees knew about the dangerous condition or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to act on it in a timely manner. Tree experts will be required to evaluate the condition of the trees and determine when they had last been inspected. There are specific criteria that arborists use to determine whether trees need to be pruned and/or removed.

If the family is able to show that the City should have known that this tree and others like it were dangerous and were at risk of falling, there is a good chance the city will be held responsible for causing this tragic death of both mom and baby to be. If however the City is able to show that they had no knowledge of this dangerous condition and that taking reasonable steps including inspection by qualified tree experts did not reveal this inherently dangerous condition, then it will be extremely challenging to prove the City was responsible for this unfortunate accident.



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Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer