By Jackie Ward

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The family of an East Bay teenager is filing a wrongful death suit against the city of Oakland a year after he killed by a falling tree limb near Lake Merritt.

They chose to hold the press conference near the site of the tragic accident on the east side of Lake Merritt where 16-year-old Jack Lewis died.

His parents — Michael and Lisa Lewis — say their son was killed by a diseased and decaying tree limb that fell on Jack’s head, crushing his skull.

The teen was here for a friend’s birthday party and some of his friends were sitting on the branch of a tree near the Children’s Fairyland billboard.

Jack started climbing to join them when the branch that was approximately 20 feet long and 12 inches in diameter, snapped off the tree and landed on his head.

They claim the city of Oakland knew about the tree’s condition because it had been inspected and marked for removal.

“We just think about him every day and hope his last thoughts and dreams were as wonderful as his life,” said Michael Lewis.

Prior to Jack’s death, his parents say a part of the top of the tree had already died.

That would suggest the rest of the tree was dangerous and, per the city of Oakland’s policy, should have been removed within 24 hours.

Expert arborist Denise Britton said it’s difficult for urban foresters to manage trees effectively because there are so many to maintain, especially when working with an inadequate budget.

KPIX 5 spoke with the Oakland City Attorney’s office and they said they couldn’t offer a comment on pending litigation.

Comments (2)
  1. I’m sorry for the family of the deceased.
    However, if a group of teenagers see a half dead tree marked for removal, and decide to all sit on a branch. How is that the city’s fault?
    I’m guessing the family wants to find someone responsible for their son’s death and has a hard time accepting, whether they are religious or not, that it was his time and there is nothing they can do to bring him back. I’m not sure dealing with the justice system for years is helping with their sorrow.

  2. So basically the dumb kid’s family is using his stupidity to make money off of his death. I guess since they are from Oakland you cannot expect too much else. Hopefully, they will not be reproducing in this lifetime again. They clearly can’t seem to breed intelligent offspring.

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