4 staff members injured after tree falls on Northwestern's Evanston campus, police say

BySarah Schulte, Cate Cauguiran, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, February 16, 2023
4 injured after tree falls on Northwestern's Evanston campus
Four university staff members were injured after a tree fell on them on Northwestern campus Thursday, Evanston police said

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Four Northwestern University staff members were injured after a tree fell on them in front of the Jacobs Center Thursday, Evanston police said

Police said the group was on the sidewalk in the 2000-block of Sheridan Road when the tree fell on them.

"Upon arrival, the battalion chief on scene noticed that there were three injured victims, one significantly and two other a little more minor, and then subsequently, we found a fourth victim nearby with minor injuries," said Matt Smith of the Evanston Fire Department.

Three were transported to Evanston Hospital, one with serious injuries, police said. The fourth was treated at the scene.

The tree fell as a winter storm brought snow and rain as well as winds to the Chicago area.

"Snow, ice, wind combination contributed to the falling of a fairly large tree that resulted in injuries to the victims," Smith said.

According to tree experts on the scene, the tree is a hackberry tree, known to be quite sturdy. They believe wind was likely a factor.

"The University is working with an arborist to determine what caused the tree to fall and if other trees in the area are potentially compromised. Crews also have been called in to assess and fix damage to nearby power lines," said Eliza Larson, Northwestern University media relations spokesperson.

As cleanup crews arrived and blocked the area off from students passing between classes, some said they were never concerned about the old trees on campus until now.

"I kind of wonder if they are checking the trees regularly enough, I just know where I'm from back home that's something my parents would always do in the woods to see the stability of the trees," said student Michelle Paragment.