Freak accident: Tree falls on praying pastor - FOX 13 News

Freak accident: Tree falls on praying pastor

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SEMINOLE HEIGHTS (FOX 13) -

She prays for the community every night, but now, the community is praying for her. The pastor of a Seminole Heights church is recovering from serious injuries following a freak accident.

Pastor Sharon Davis was sitting outside the church Sunday night when a tree limb snapped and fell on her.

She's doing much better now that she's home from the hospital, but she's sore, as you might imagine. Her injuries stem from her upper body to her head.

We're told her collar bone was broken in three places, and she has a major cut to her head. Despite what has happened to Davis, she has a positive take on it and is asking for prayers from her congregation, so she can get back to the pulpit soon.

To see the way the tree blanketed the front steps of the Seminole Heights United Methodist Church, it's a miracle Davis wasn't hurt worse. She was caught underneath the crush of an old laurel oak, which had been weakened by Tropical Storm Debby.

"She heard a noise, and when she looked up, she saw the tree," said Christie Hess of SHUMC. 

Hess said part of the tree gave way while Davis was deep in prayer on her church's front steps.

The pastor has a habit of walking the neighborhood, mentally prepping for her Sunday sermon, and then praying at the end of her walks.

"When a big chunk of that tree broke off, and unfortunately, hit her on its way down," said Hess.  "It happened at the best possible time for her to sustain the least amount of injury."

Luckily, no one else got hurt.

"It could have been the congregation leaving the church," said Hess. "And you know what: There were eyewitnesses who were right here at the time it occurred, so she had immediate attention."

Hess believes this was God's wake-up call, that trees in the neighborhood have protected people for years.  But now, some trees are so old people need protection from them.

Robert Seamon, who is with Pete and Ron's Tree Service, said he wasn't surprised the tree fell.

Seamon said laurel oaks are the worst for breakage.

"Laurel Oaks grow vertical like this," he said, gesturing with his hands upward. "And these connections are weak and they break off."

He demonstrated, bending his fingers backward and adding that those kinds of trees are safe up to about 50 years old.

"They grow real fast, they're very brittle, and they're very dangerous," said Seamon.

Jennifer Lugar and her daughter Julie live just a few blocks away from the church, with an 80-year-old tree in their yard.

"Our house was built in 1924," said Lugar looking up at the tree in her yard. "I'm guessing the tree is about that old."

A pile of limbs came off it during Debby.

"I live in constant concern that something big is going to come down and take out my house or my car, my dog," said Lugar.

Seamon said the time to get your trees checked is now before the next big storm hits.

The rest of that tree, which took the pastor down, will have to be destroyed.

The front steps and front yard of the church will stay roped off with yellow police tape until they can make all the repairs.

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