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Branch falls, kills man while he was hiking at park

Posted at 11:10 PM, May 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-10 23:10:27-04

One man is dead in a freak accident after severe storms moved through Central Virginia Thursday. It happened at Pump House Park along the James. Two people were hiking when authorities say a tree fell on a man during the storm.

Authorities say the hiker was already in cardiac arrest when they arrived to the scene.

"I always come out here to run about four or five times a week. I just waited today until after the storm to come down,” said Kyle Donovon.

Donovon stumbled upon a startling scene when he showed up to Pump House Park.

"I saw the police [and] fire department ambulance. I had no idea what was going  on,” Donovon said.

It was just before 5 p.m. Thursday, at the height of a severe thunderstorm which prompted NBC12 to issue a First Alert Weather Day. Two people were walking in the park when a tree fell to the ground - hitting a hiker in the head. The man died.

"It's unfortunate. It's not something you want to hear about…Coming through here, one of the roads [is] completely blocked off by a huge branch, similar to that one over there,” biker Taylor Long said, pointing to a down limb in the park.

That's why Donovon says he steers clear during bad weather.

"Whenever you see lightning or storms coming in, get off the trails as soon as possible. I've had a couple of trees snap when I've been out running on trails. It's fallen behind me a minute after I ran through the section. You've always got to be aware of your surroundings,” he said.

Authorities had a difficult time getting to the victim because he was out on the trail. The distance plus the pouring rain made things tough. The ambulance service says there was no need to transport the victim to the hospital.

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