Woman questions whether city is to blame after tree branch totals her van

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Vanessa Pease said she tried to remedy a frustrating, possibly dangerous, situation before something happened to her family living on the east side.

Pease said crews that she believes were with the city of Indianapolis left behind loose branches after working on a tree in front of her neighbor's home in April.

"This branch that's now in my yard was just dangling right here," Pease explained. "I was afraid it was going to hit my girls' window and I don't have a ladder that will even reach that high to attempt to get it off there."

Pease said she called the Mayor's Action Center on April 29 to file a report. CBS4 emailed and called the Mayor's Action Center to confirm a report was filed. It is still listed as open on the Request Indy website.

"I made the report way back that there was an issue that needed to be addressed or something like this was going to happen," Pease explained. "I thought it was going to happen to the house and not my car."

Sunday night, Pease said a large branch from the tree she filed the report on fell onto her 2006 Dodge Caravan and totaled it. The branch broke the windshield, dented the frame and smashed the back window.

"I can't afford a new car right now," Pease said. "I have the credit score. I just don't have the money."

Pease said her insurance told her the vehicle is worth $1,400. They  are covering her rental car until Monday. That is when she will need to have a new method of transportation.

"It's worth about $1,400, and that's not going to get me anywhere as far as being able to take my kids back and forth to school which they go to different schools and go to my full-time job," Pease said.

She filed a report with the Department of Public Works on Monday, records show. Pease showed CBS4 the debris that is blocking the sidewalk outside her home, and the large branch lying in her front yard. She said DPW told her they would be sending someone  out.

"They said it will be done in 24 hours," Pease recalled. "Well, later that day somebody drove by in the city works truck, looked at it, kinda just went like that and took off. I waited another 24 hours, I was like well, maybe they were busy and they were thinking they'll come back. I called them the next day and they said well we have 24 hours and I said, well someone drove by and nobody stopped. Now I am going on three days later and it's still in front of my yard."

Pease reached out to CBS4 when she could not get answers from the city. We reached out to the Mayor's Action Center; a spokesperson connected us with the Department of Public Works. DPW sent us the two open cases confirming the situation Pease described.

DPW said they did not have a record of forestry work performed at either Pease's home or her neighbor's house. They suggested CBS4 check with the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services to see if someone obtained a permit because the situation sounded like work from a telecom or utility company.

"The first request that was put in in April, it notes that there were tree limbs that were taken down that were still resting upon the tree, so they were hanging down," MAC spokeswoman Nicole Van Dongen said during a phone interview. "That does not sound like forestry's work because if they go down to cut limbs they remove the limbs."

CBS4 left a message with DBNS but it was after 5 p.m. We will keep checking with the city's departments until we can get clarification for Pease.

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