POLLOK, Texas (KTRE) - (Editor’s note: The family of Dilynn and Jace Creel are working only to have dead, diseased or otherwise compromised trees removed from roadsides, not healthy trees.)
A Pollok couple is petitioning at the state level for action to be taken on dead roadside trees so that no family suffers the same tragedy that theirs did.
Dilynn and Jace Creel were killed when a tree fell on their parents’ car following the April 13 storms. The Creels say it wasn’t the storms themselves that caused the tree to topple; rather, the tree’s dead roots and loose foundation contributed to the treefall which killed the two boys.
KTRE 9′s Ryan Ordmandy spoke with the Creel family about the process they’ve undergone to make sure no family is faced with the same threat, and their progress so far.
As school buses start driving down the streets of Pollok, Ed and Brittney Creel are reminded of the hole left by their two sons.
“The last three or four days have been real rough with school going back," Ed said. "Jace was supposed to start school Monday. He would have been in pre-k.”
They say the pain of their sons’ deaths is so great, they’ve started sleeping in their camper outside the house.
“We don’t go in our house anymore,” Ed said.
“We have to soon, to go through everything, pack stuff of the boys’. It’s just we’ve been avoiding it. It’s just too hard,” Brittney said.
But they say they’re trying to move forward in another way. After their two boys were killed by a tree that fell on their car in April, they’ve begun reaching out to Angelina County commissioners to get rotting or dying trees removed from the sides of county roads.
“The tree that fell on the boys was a dead, rotten-base tree," Ed said. "The root ball stayed in the ground and it snapped even with the ground.”
Ed says they feel a weight of responsibility to make change since they noticed the trees when they first moved in but didn’t call to have them removed.
“We never took the initiative to call to have them removed because we spoke to a few people and they say well you can call them to have them removed, but they’ll come mark over them and they probably won’t remove them,” he said.
They’ve even tried to get attention from the state level. An online petition they’ve created urges people to sign and make Texas lawmakers aware of their goal to have rotting trees removed along Texas roadways.
“The only thing that i know is to keep getting signatures until it’s enough where it can go before State Representative Ashby and then see what he has to say,” Ed said.
“We don’t want it to happen to other people," Brittney said. “There’s no pain worse than losing a child.”
The petition can be found here.