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Leaning tree removed on Sunbeam Road

City prioritizes removing trees deemed dangerous

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many of the downed trees from Monday's storms have been cleaned up around Jacksonville, but there was one on Wednesday that was still leaning dangerously against another tree near a power line, putting people walking by in danger.

The tree was on Sunbeam Road, east of San Jose Boulevard in Mandarin, and just outside the City and Police Federal Credit Union.

"That could fall over on traffic right there, probably reach a car," concerned resident Lucas Lockerbie said.

Several people were seen walking in the area Wednesday, and many didn't know the tree was leaning until they were about to walk right past it.

Lockerbie watched Larry Elliott walk in front of the tree.

"I wouldn't walk in front of it," Lockerbie said. "That would probably take half a second to smash him."

"If you're not careful, definitely would be scary and you could be a victim of that tree," Elliott said.

News4Jax notified the city about the tree at 11 a.m. A city crew began looking at the tree at 12:15 p.m. A city spokeswoman said JEA was contacted because the tree was near power lines.

By 1 p.m., a tree removal service contracted by JEA worked to remove the tree.

The property owner is responsible for removing the debris, but the city made calls to help get the tree removed. It may be taking tree removal seriously after a rotting tree limb fell on Aubrey Stewart when he was 15 years old in 2011.

The city is still looking for a way to pay the family $3.5 million after he was paralyzed from the waist down. Stewart's dreams of playing football were shattered.

The attorney for Stewart's family said neighbors on the Eastside contacted the city about the rotting tree.

Florida law says governments can only pay up to $200,000 in damages, regardless of injuries.

City spokeswoman Debbie Delgado said the city takes calls about trees that need to come down, then they send out a crew from the city's mowing and landscape division to look at the tree. All trees they get called about are prioritized.

The city said it received about a dozen calls to remove trees after Monday's storms, and it said it has responded to all of them to remove the trees.

If the tree is deemed dangerous, Delgado said, it will come down immediately.

Meanwhile, people in the area may feel a bit safer after some tree cutting Wednesday.

Delgado said if you see a tree in the city that needs to be cut down, call 904-630-CITY. If you see a tree on power lines, email JEA at jeatreecare@jea.com.