Man clubbed by large limb during tree removal, family says

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- The family of a Vancouver-area man said a crew taking down a tree on the other side of their backyard fence allowed a large tree limb to hit the man in the head and knock him into a fence.

Don Pipkin, 79, ended up in the hospital.

"We heard some chainsaws going," said his wife, Jan Pipkin, who said she was in the backyard with him last month when the incident happened. "He looked up, and a limb was coming at him."

A company named Rotschy, Inc. was removing big trees for a new development on the other side of the Pipkin's fence.

The Pipkins said the crew did not warn them that the tree was coming down, and the Pipkins did not know until the limb that was already hanging over their yard began to swing violently.

"Scooped my 79-year-old husband up, threw him against a fence, knocked him out and gave him a concussion," said Jan Pipkin, "I had to scream at them to get them to stop."

This was not the only problem during the same project.

Neighbors told the KATU Problem Solvers that other trees that Rotschy took down damaged their yards, including fences, a shed, a gazebo and a trampoline.

Rotschy said in a statement, "Although Rotschy employees were following usual safety procedures, some incidents occurred. We have been actively investigating these incidents and are forwarding all information to our insurance company and working with them to quickly resolve any claims."

Those answers are not enough for the Pipkins.

"There's no reason he should have suffered this," said Jan Pipkin.

The Problem Solvers have learned new information about the tree removal that may shed light on what went wrong. Watch for the new information and the complete report on the faulty tree project tonight on KATU News at 6 p.m., along with an interview with Don Pipkin about what happened when he was hit by the large limb.