Man Seeks Changes in Tree Inspections after Death of Wife

Posted at: 09/04/2013 5:19 PM
Updated at: 09/05/2013 7:54 AM
By: Beth McDonough

A tree that crushed an Eden Prairie woman earlier this summer was decayed and filled with insects, according to a final finding from Eden Prairie Police. 

It's hard news for Nine Mackay's family to hear. Wednesday, her husband shared with us that he wants to see change.

Ian Mackay doesn't venture too far from his home near Mitchell Lake anymore, "I do think about the path and trees; it's natural. I'm not as comfortable in the woods as I was."

Not since July when a massive tree suddenly fell, hitting his wife of 23 years.  Nina was on her daily walk behind their Eden Prairie home when she died, "she was a real friend to the city."

Although the 100-year-old tree looks normal on the outside, it's anything but on the inside.  And that confirms what Ian Mackay suspected, "I looked at it right away and it was clear it was diseased."

And chock-full of insects.  He wonders how many other trees along this trail might pose a danger, "I do think it ought to be looked at, there's a risk that maybe we weren't aware of, maybe we should have been."

Ian Mackay has seen city crews cut down a few "suspect" trees recently.  That's a start, he says.

City leaders told KSTP they rely on three inspectors to keep tabs on trees along all 13 miles of walking trails in town.  In 2012, they removed more than 1,000 diseased trees from city property. 

For Ian Mackay, that may not be enough.  Which is why he's considering taking legal action. "I think about Nina," he said. "I think we need to do something differently; we missed a real risk."

Ian Mackay's attorney told KSTP he's reviewing the police report.  He says that if the family does decide to file a lawsuit it would be based on a negligence claim, meaning the city of Eden Prairie was negligent for failing to remove an obvious hazard.