Local News

Tree collapse leaves woman to raise children alone

Posted August 20, 2009

— Brandy Donovan lost her boyfriend, the father of her unborn child, Wednesday afternoon when the car they were traveling in was crushed by a falling tree.

Donovan, 25, of Garner, was on the way to a friend’s house with her boyfriend, DeJuan Green, 21, of Garner, and another man, John Wolff, 32, of Raleigh.

As they drove down Old Stage Road in southern Wake County, they saw a tree start to fall.

tree on car Woman recounts tree's collapse

"The tree just came down. We couldn't speed up or nothing. It came down so fast and it completely stopped the car," Donovan said.

Green died at the scene, Trooper Eric Hunt said. Wolff was trapped inside the car. Paramedics were able to get him out and and take him to WakeMed, where he was treated and released.

Donovan said she clawed her way out of the car, then ran to check on Green. "The tree is laying on him," she said. "The whole car is busted in."

The couple, who have a six-month-old daughter, was expecting a second child next year.

Green’s death leaves Donovan a single parent two times over. Her first husband died in 2007 as a result of a single-car crash, she said. They had four children. She is left to care for her unborn child and her five other children alone.

"He didn't deserve to die this way," she said of Green. "He was too young."

Tests show the baby survived the accident and has a strong heartbeat. Donovan had a cut on her head and hands from her escape from the car. Doctors had her lying flat Thursday while they worked to determine the extent of her injuries. WakeMed listed her in good condition.


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  • ratlig Aug 21, 2009

    RB, the children will still get SS benefits. Marrying him has nothing to do with that..

  • Adelinthe Aug 21, 2009

    I am sorry for her loss, but had she married the father of her child and child-to-be, perhaps there would be benefits she could take advantage of to take care of them.

    When she decided to have children outside of marriage, she took that chance, and now most likely, her children will pay for that one way or the other.

    Praying for the children.

    God bless.


  • hihuwatlu Aug 21, 2009

    For those who are suggesting donating money, be careful. We actually know very little about these people. We don't even know if the five children she has currently live with her or someone else. How has she been supporting them (difficult to work when you have 5 children). Deaths are always tragedies and I'm not saying this one isn't, just that maybe you shouldn't give money to people you don't know when you may not know the entire situation. There are a lot of people out there who can use help.

  • FireFaerie88 aka snugglebunny Aug 21, 2009

    The car insurance company will more than likely give a nice payout as well.

  • Kbo Aug 20, 2009

    Professor - Is there extra SS benefits if you die young and leave kids? Because I can't imagine that he's eligible for much benefits otherwise, since they are based on your past taxed earnings and he was only 21.

  • Kbo Aug 20, 2009

    Professor - maybe in your family, but in mine, we take care of each other. my parents would never keep the money and let their grandkids go without, and I would never keep my parents life insurance money as long as my grandma is alive and in need of 24 hour care. it's just money, family is more important.

  • teach4ever Aug 20, 2009

    This exact thing happened to my husband in early 1998 - I was VERY pregnant with our son and at home in Willow Spring when he called to say a tree fell on his truck as he was driving down Old Stage Rd. It did major damage to his truck, but of course, I was more worried about how close I came to being a singe mother. One foot closer to the windshield and he would've been gone. The HP that came to fill out the accident report said it wasn't anyone's fault, it was just a dead tree that fell...go figure. I think about it EVERY time I drive by that spot and I think how close I came to losing my husband.

  • foxyladync Aug 20, 2009

    I have not personally seen this tree, so I have no idea if it was dead or not. If it appeared to be alive, in actuality, it could have been dying and the structual integrity of the interior of the tree could have been compromised. I have actually witnessed a tree that seemed healthy, fall unprovoked. There was no wind or anything. It just fell over. Thankfully no one was hurt and no property was damaged. Interestingly, when it hit the ground, it just disintigrated. The outer bark was intact, but the interior was practically dust. This was a rather large oak, so it made for an impressive show. I assume that it was some sort of insect infestation. Perhaps this was the case too.

  • tjsauer99 Aug 20, 2009

    I watched the 5am news and as most of you commented, my first thought was Insurance. I realize there are many people that don't have it not because of cost, it's actually fairly inexpensive, but no one likes to think about or talk about that subject. The same thing happens with wills! A tragic "Freak" accident, but we all must remember anytime, any place it could very easily been one of us. At some point all of our numbers will come up, and unfortunately have no idea when. Thoughts and prayers to the family. Someone mentioned a dollar here, a dollar there, if it starts if you would either post it or if WRAL was contaced they would probably at least mention it and where to send the money.

  • Adelinthe Aug 20, 2009

    On Benson Road between Angier and the Johnston County Line there ar three trees that will fall in the roadway soon.

    About 2 weeks ago, there was only one; last week it started to bring another one with it, and when we drove by yesterday, 3 were leaning.

    Are they waiting for them to fall and kill someone before doing something? Cause fall they will, probably very soon.

    God bless.