Newport Beach Replaces Trees After Fatal Tree Fall Accident

A little after a year following the death of a Tustin resident in a tree falling accident, the city is finishing a project to replace a large number of blue gum eucalyptus trees with alternative smarter and safer landscaping options.

According to the Daily Pilot, 29-year-old Haeyoon Miller was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Irvine Avenue and 17th Street when a eucalyptus tree suddenly fell on top of her car. Emergency personnel rushed to the scene of the accident, but Miller was pronounced dead at the scene.

In the wake of the accident, Miller’s parents sued the City of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa for negligence, citing the fact that the trees were known to be dangerous and poorly maintained. In addition, the family also sued West Coast Arborists, the contractors who were caring for the trees at the time of the accident.

After the tragedy, Newport Beach investigated the issue and several experts confirmed that many of the trees were not stable. Over 100 eucalyptus trees along roads in the city were removed. After more research, the trees are now being replaced by new foliage, including date palms and African tulips supplemented with succulents as ground cover. In the next few weeks, the city will complete a $300,000 project to replace the eucalyptus trees on Irvine Avenue with date palms and African Tulips. Over the next three months, the plants will be monitored closely for stability and other issues.

The new plants were picked for economic and safety issues—date palms and African tulips are easy to maintain and do not require large volumes of water. The same trees are being used in other public parts of Newport Beach as well.

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