Tragic Accident: Branch Falls, Kills Runner on Adams Mill Rd, NW

“Dear PoP,

Not a very large branch, but the height from which it fell made it lethal.

The victim’s name hasn’t been released, but he’s a top-notch athlete and was out for a morning run. Evidently he was passing under this elm tree just as the branch gave way.

Jack McKay
ANC 1-D, Mount Pleasant, Single Member District 1D03”

WUSA9 reports:

“It happened at around 6:20 a.m. at on the 3200 block of Adams Mill Road, in NW, DC.”

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40 Comment

  • me

    My condolences to his family and friends. What an awful thing.

  • That is so tragic! Widow makers scare me. Reminds me of the time I was chainsawing a dead tree down on my property in Maryland, and, whammo, less than a foot away landed a huge limb that fell from above. Needless to say, that was it for me for the day. So very sad to hear this fine fellow lost his life from a big old elm.

    • I’m surprised to hear that someone else knows what a “widow maker” is. This is a very unfortunate death and it happens much more often than we think! Looks like this tree is fairly old and doen’t have the greatest rooting area. Heck, the whole tree could fall at anytime if the soil ever gets extremely saturated.

  • Terrible.

    Was over reading this earlier at DCist. Their commentariat on the issue are the salt in the wound for his family/friends.


  • Incredibly sad. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.

    Events like these are all the more reason to live the hell out of life. For you simply never know when it’ll be snatched away from you!

  • Is it true that the Dutch Elms are known to be diseased? This is a beautiful part of the city but as someone who frequently runs this way/down Porter into Rock Creek this is disturbing.

    • Apparently DC is home to quite a nice population of surviving elms. There is a treatment the arborists can use to try to help them, but the elm disease is harsh. Someone once told me there is actually an effort to try to keep DC quarantined from outside areas to try to keep our remaining stock alive. The area around Sherman Circle, this area in Mt. P, and down near the Lincoln Memorial have some beauties. Really tragic that this one inadvertently killed someone in their prime. You never know what is around your next corner, live fast, take chances, and be nice.

    • These elms are well maintained. Our neighborhood leader in elm treatment and preservation lives on this same block, just a few doors away.

      Trees fall, limbs fall, especially when it’s been wet and the weight of water on the leaves can be too much. The heavy rains of late August and early September caused some enormous trees to fall.

      Such a pity, a healthy young man abruptly struck down. A later report says he was just walking to work, no doubt on his way to a parked car or the nearby bus stop.

  • What a horrible and shocking loss for his family and friends. I add my condolences.

  • i saw this earlier on dcist. i don’t usually read the comments on dcist, but i was shocked to see that pretty much everyone was making jokes about the accident. someone died. that’s horrible..

    • part of the reason i stopped reading DCist. while PoP isn’t without its share of jackass commenters, DCist is an echo chamber of the same 10 douchebags sharing inside jokes.

  • It’s inconceivable that people would joke about an innocent person dying like this. Terrible.

  • people find it very easy to be obnoxious and rude under the anonymity of the internet. it’s sad.

  • If we’re on the topic of being insensitive and reckless with comments in the aftermath of tragedy, I’ll just point out that it happens a lot on here too. Death is a tragedy no matter who it happens to or how it happens. A person murdered in a shootout is just as tragic as a tree branch falling on an unsuspecting jogger. people around these parts are quick to quantify a value on someone’s life and use that value to determine exactly how important or unimportant that person’s passing is. THAT is the height of savagery, in my opinion. Just saying…

    • I disagree. Saying that a person murdered in a shootout is as tragic as a tree branch falling and killing someone is like comparing the tragedy quotient of a driver killed while drunk and speeding to the death of the law abiding driver that he ran into.
      Taking risky action that is likely to hasten your demise (being a gang banger, driving drunk) really changes the situation.

  • This is tragic and very sad and deserves all due respect but didn’t happen in Adams Morgan. That is definitely Mount Pleasant.

  • PDleftMtP

    We were trying to figure out what happened on our way to work this morning – terrible news.

  • may we all go quickly doing something we love.

    my condolences to friends and family.

  • photo of the tree on the Mt. P Forum

    at www dot mtpleasantdc dot org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7860

  • Thoughts and prayers to his family.

  • Its shocking how quickly a day can change. This spontaneous death just reminds us how precious life is. Apparently the man was on his way to work, backpack and all, and a branch (about 5″ in diameter) fell from about 20 feet, striking him. A runner ran by and came upon the scene, immediately stopping. I would like to reach out to this Runner who stopped to help this poor man. Unknowingly, I was going to become involved. The runner flagged us down as we were driving by, he did not have a cell phone, and asked that we call 911. We did immediately. He then ran back over to the young man and proceeded to preform CPR as I was on the phone with the dispatcher. I couldn’t believe how focused and determined he was, I just stood there shocked. This Good Samaritan restored my faith in people. The runner who came upon the scene is an amazing person and my heart goes out to him, as well as the young man’s family and friends.

    • Thank you for that report. Yes, there are many people in DC who will do the right thing in such situations. This brings to mind an incident close by this location, in which a band of youths assaulted an elderly man on the sidewalk. A driver passing by stopped, jumped out of her car, and chased the young thugs off. I never found out who that heroine was.

    • I think it was actually his landlord who was doing CPR; he lived in a basement apartment and was very friendly with the upstairs homeowners.

      I knew the person who died. He was a truly sweet and wonderful guy.

      Thank you so much for stopping to try to help.

  • I knew this man and it is a huge loss. How can something like this happen? I feel so badly for his mom, girlfriend and everyone else who was lucky enough to know him.

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