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Tree falls on Dickson woman, breaking her spine, ribs

By Michael Warrick

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    DICKSON, Tennessee (WSMV) — Strong storms came dangerously close to killing a Dickson woman Friday morning when part of a tree came crashing down on her front porch.

It left her trapped under its weight and broke her spine and several ribs. That’s according to Nancy Rutan’s husband, Gary, who watched it all.

“All of a sudden, it got real dark, and I’m going, ‘what the heck is going on out here,’ Gary Rutan said. “A big tree came down and landed on top of her, the deck, and everything.”

Nancy, her husband says, was out on the front porch, enjoying a cup of coffee and talking on the phone, when the tree came crashing down.

As of Friday night, she’s in a Nashville hospital – alert but in pain.

“I’m just dumbfounded; I couldn’t believe it,” Gary Rutan said. “It’s just unbelievable how something could take it out that quick.”

As Nancy, 67, lay stuck under the tree, Gary called 911. First responders showed up within 10 minutes, he says, freeing her after cutting the tree with chainsaws.

Gary says he was minutes away from leaving for an appointment.

“That’s all I can say; thank you, Lord, for letting me be here,” Gary Rutan said. “The EMS guy said if you would’ve left, who would’ve called 911?”

Now strewn across the Rutan’s front yard are limbs and pieces from their patio.

The front porch they’ve enjoyed for much of the 31 years they’ve been married is barely standing.

It’s now a repair project, Gary, who is 70-years-old, says he’ll get to it in time.

His priority is caring for his wife.

“All this stuff can be replaced,” Gary Rutan said.

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