Woman injured from falling tree branch at BioPark to sue city

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A woman is still hospitalized after a tree branch fell on her at the zoo. She is planning to sue, but her attorney said the city is not preserving evidence.

“She’s still in the hospital, it’s unclear when she will be released,” said Jason Vigil.

Vigil is Sonya Romero’s attorney. Romero was rushed to the hospital when she was at a private event at the Rio Grande Zoo last week.

“They were near the gorilla exhibit and one of the branches disconnected from a tree,” said Vigil.

Vigil said that branch did a lot of damage, fracturing her skull, spine, leg and ribs. Even saying she has brain bleeds and pulmonary complications.

“When people think branch they think of some little thing a kid might twirl, but this is something far different than that,” said Vigil.

Vigil said the branch was 20 to 30 feet long and several inches thick. Vigil wanted to check out the branch and the scene themselves, so they asked the city to preserve the trees and gorilla exhibit as it was when the branch fell.

But when they went to the zoo on Thursday, “There was tree trimming in progress,” said Vigil. “They had a crane, a lot of contractors there trimming the entire area, and they were failing to preserve any of the evidence we asked.”

Vigil said they’re frustrated the city didn’t follow directions. “The city’s failure to do that is a complete obstruction,” said Vigil.

Vigil said they’ve hired an arborist to see if they could determine if that incident could’ve been prevented. According to their tort claims, the Romeros are looking to get over $1 million from this incident.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the city to get a reaction to the claim about the tree cutting, but haven’t heard back.

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