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Muhlenberg woman in ICU after being hit by fallen tree during storm

Woman in ICU after being hit by fallen tree during storm

MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. - A Berks County woman remains in intensive care after being crushed and trapped by a 100-foot tree.

Russeline Wily is in critical condition at Reading Hospital after a butternut tree hit her on the head during Thursday night's fierce storm.

Wily, 76, was on the back deck of her home in the 4000 block of River Road in Muhlenberg Township. She had no time to move, and no time to understand what was about to happen.     

"I heard her scream and run by the door, and that quick there was a huge crash," said Jack Wily, the woman's husband, who was working in the kitchen. "I came outside and hunted for her and couldn't see her. I called for her and there was no response."

It happened in a split second. Wily was trying to fix the umbrella, flopping in the wind on the deck. Before she could reach it, mother nature's powerful winds dumped the rotted tree trunk on top of her. The deck floor collapsed, and Wily plunged to the ground.

Her husband thought she made it off the deck, but when he came down the stairs it took him about 15 to 20 minutes to find her. Jack heard his wife moaning, and found her trapped underneath the massive tree.

Fire crews used chain saws to cut her out. She was conscious and rushed to Reading Hospital. Wily suffered multiple fractures, and underwent surgery Thursday night, said her husband.

"The doctor said she's progressing positively, but she's going to be in the ICU for the foreseeable future anyway," said Jack.

The tree was still stretched across the backyard Friday afternoon. Chunks of roof on the home were torn off, and lawn furniture was broken. It's now a reminder of the fast-moving storm that changed everything in the blink of an eye.

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