A Brick resident who was the victim of a fallen tree trunk yesterday succumbed to his injuries, according to the Brick Township Police Department.
On Nov. 22, at 10:55 a.m., Brick Police responded to a home on Nejecho Drive for a 911 call. It was reported that a tree trunk at that location had fallen onto a male subject, 61 year-old Vernon Hankins.
“Officer Julian Halley was first on scene and found numerous neighbors using shovels in an attempt to dig out the subject, who was pinned under a large tree stump,” said Sgt. Keith Reinhard.
Police investigating the accident discovered that a large tree had been uprooted due to Superstorm Sandy, which left a sizable hole remaining at the base and stump of the tree. The tree was left with its roots visible and with a hole in the ground.
“Hankins apparently had been working on cutting the tree down and into pieces. At one point, it appears he had gone into the hole at the base/stump of the tree and started cutting the roots. This caused what was left of the tree to shift its weight and fall onto him,” said Reinhard.
At that point, Hankins became trapped under the tree, with only his head and shoulders exposed.
First Aid and Fire Departments responded to the scene to assist in the rescue effort. Brick Fire Department Stations 21 and 22 used a winch and jack to pull the tree off Hankins, and he was then extricated from the hole after being trapped for just over 15 minutes. Medics and Brick Police EMT’s immediately began lifesaving efforts.
Hankins was then transported to Ocean Medical Center, where he later passed away.