Witnesses continue to recount deadly Rock Island tree branch accident

Published: Jul. 4, 2018 at 12:47 AM CDT
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Witnesses continue to speak out about the incident on July 3rd where a tree branch fell, killing two and injuring five people.

Alexis Smith was sitting with her family on the courthouse lawn enjoying the fireworks. She got there early and decided to sit with her family under the tree because it would provide shade until the sun went down. When the branch fell, Alexis panicked to find her two kids.

"I thought for half a second, I thought that I would never be able to hold him again. I thought for half a second one fireworks show took away everything that I loved cause I couldn't find my daughter. I couldn't get him to move So for a split long long long second I thought everything I loved was gone."

Smith's son was taken to the hospital that night where he was treated for scratches to the face and suffered a concussion. He will be okay. Smith says even hearing the sound of fireworks brings her back to the chaos of the evening.

Kathleen Carter 's then pregnant daughter Kataivreonna Carter, was sitting right next to 72-year-old Lawerance Anderson. Kathleen says somehow she was able to push her daughter's chair out of the way before the tree branch fell.

Now her granddaughter's name, Kamaree Kathleen Lawrence Daniel Carter, will forever pay respect to the two who passed away.

Baby Carter in the hospital

Today we met Baby Carter! She's a quiet little girl and sweet as can be. Tonight at 10, her mother and grandmother recount the terrifying hours that lead up to her emergency birth. Until then, here's some video of the little cutie to tide you over!

Posted by Shelby Shepherd on Thursday, July 5, 2018

Johnnie Woods was right next to where the branch fell.

"Suddenly I heard this cracking sound. I got up to try to run" Woods said, " [I] looked around and saw that it was the tree branch and everybody was kind of running and screaming. People were trying to pull people out of the branches."

Johnnie Woods had good reason to return to the courthouse. "I decided to come down this morning and maybe pray for the victims and I didn't know who they were and pray for their families."

Jayson and Katie Fox were farther away and saw the branch fall.

"It was like a whoosh noise and we turned around and it was in the process of falling," Katie remarked. "Both my wife and I are veterans. having our backgrounds and the things we've done before, there was no thought process other than run and help." Jayson remarked.

Davenport couple witness Rock Island fatal tree accident

Melanie Brown Ledbetter was with family and friends watching the Red White and Boom fireworks display Tuesday night when the unbelievable happened.

“I was sitting about 50 feet away,” Ledbetter said. “I was turned talking to my friend and heard the loud crackle of the tree breaking and saw it fall.”

Her husband, Tim Ledbetter, was among many bystanders who jumped into action.

“Tim went over and saw the injured and the deceased and worked to lift the branches to get them out,” she said.

“People were screaming and crying. A lot of people rushed over to help and a lot of people immediately packed up and fled the scene.”