Nyack, May 19 — About 30 minutes before students were scheduled to arrive at Upper Nyack Elementary School on Thursday morning, a 100 year old tree fell across North Broadway, crushing a 2012 Honda Accord. Jerome Muhlenberg, a retired educator and Upper Nyack resident who was driving the car, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
“A large oak tree located on the northeast end of the school property fell and struck a passing car, tragically killing the driver,” said Nyack Schools Superintendent James Montesano in a posting on the school’s website. “There were no students at the school at the time of the accident and the Upper Nyack buses were diverted to the high school until parents could be contacted.” Classes at the elementary school were cancelled on Thursday but will resume on Friday.
Wednesday was an unseasonably warm day and North Broadway was filled with its usual complement of walkers, joggers and dogs with their owners taking in a beautiful Spring day before the incident. The tree, located adjacent to the “Upper Nyack Elementary School” sign near the front entrance of the school, didn’t seem to be diseased or in danger of falling. “The fallen tree involved in today’s tragedy was recently inspected by the arborist on May 10,” said Montesano. “The tree did not show signs of decay and was scheduled to have some light trim work completed next week,” said Montesano.
The Clarkstown Police described the incident as “a freak accident.”