MOUNT PLEASANT (KDKA) — A family in Westmoreland County was having a gender reveal party to celebrate a pregnancy when, out of nowhere, a tree fell on the dad-to-be.
It was a beautiful day in Mt. Pleasant. A young couple had just revealed new details about a new life that was coming into the world. Then they heard a crack, and a life was nearly lost.
Broken off at the trunk, part of a huge tree sits in Zack and Joscelyn Muellerleile’s front yard. One of Zack’s legs is in a cast. One a direct result of the other.
“It’s not the way I wanted the day to go,” Zack said.
Zack and Joscelyn, who is 5 months pregnant, had the family over for a party to break some big news.
“It was our gender reveal [party],” Zack said. “We were finding out if we were having a baby boy or a baby girl.”
A baby boy was on the way. Food and fun ensued. A handful of folks – adults and children as young as 9 – were under the shade of a front yard silver maple. Then someone heard a sharp crack.
“I heard my father-in-law yell, ‘It’s gonna fall,’ and you didn’t have time to react,” Zack said. “Before I knew it, I was sitting on the ground with a tree across my lap.”
And on his leg.
“I’m 23, and I’ve never had a broken bone in my life,” he said.
That streak broken, along with some other things.
“I broke my ankle and fibula,” he said.
Somehow, no one else was hurt or trapped, but Zack was both.
“Everybody, of course, was freaking out,” he said.
But with the help of a floor jack, a chainsaw, plus cooler heads, Zack’s family freed him. It could have been worse.
“There was a really big limb that was inches above my head,” Zack said. “It’s kind of unbelievable it didn’t break my neck, or just come down and kill me.”
A perfectly parked Jeep prevented that.
“The Jeep is what kept some of the weight off me,” Zack said. “I’ll probably be laid up for the rest of the summer.”
Zack says utility crews cut some branches away from the tree recently, but he’s not sure that had anything to do with what happened.
He wants others to pay attention to his terrifying tale. If you think you have a tree that may be suspect, don’t risk it.
“Either level the tree off a little bit, or take the rest of it down so something like this doesn’t happen to someone else,” Zack said.