POPE COUNTY, Ark. — Neighbors claim falling trees and branches are an ongoing problem at a Russellville mobile home park where a mother and son were killed when a tree fell on their house Saturday.
Johnny Hicks, who used to live at the park off Main Street and was visiting family there over the weekend, can’t stop reliving what he witnessed when a rotting tree pinned a mother and her 2 children underneath.
“There was a little girl screaming and I started talking to her trying to calm her down,” he said. “All the mom was saying was, ‘I’m dying, help I’m dying.'”
The tree was so big crews needed a crane to get the family out. By then firefighters say Alesha Huggins and her 9-year-old son died, while the 6-year-old girl was injured and is recovering at the hospital.
Hicks believes what happened was preventable, and says falling trees are an ongoing problem that park management neglects.
“The family has told them they want this tree checked out, I guess too little too late,” Hicks said.
Hicks says when he lived at the park in 2016 a tree feel on his home, damaging a bedroom and a car parked outside. He claims that’s not the only close call.
“A neighbor, a tree fell through her living room and part of her roof and almost got her son,” Hicks said. “There have been calls made of ‘hey we’re worried about this tree’ and nothing has been done about it.”
With trees towering over the property, Hicks is concerned about what could happen if they aren’t taken care of.
“It’s not right for anyone to have to live through something like that,” he said.
The property owner Horace Beaver did not want to be interviewed but told KARK 4 over the phone what happened was “an act of God” and said it was devastating for everyone involved. When asked if he’d received calls about trees, in particular the one that fell Saturday, he said he wasn’t aware.