DeKalb County family blames GDOT after tree crushes car, paralyses man

A DeKalb County man is struggling to recover after a tree crashed onto his car, pinning him and his wife inside. The accident left Delvalo Baitey paralyzed from the shoulders down. It happened on March 26 on Boring Road in Decatur. His family blames Georgia Department of Transportation. 

Chevron Baitey says she and her husband turned onto Boring Road in Decatur. A gigantic tree toppled onto their car just as they approached Flat Shoals Parkway.

"All we heard was a big, loud noise, really like the world had fallen on our car," Baitey said.

They had no idea what hit them. "We didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t even know if it was a car or what happened," Baitey said.

The tree tore down power lines and crushed the couple’s car. "He was saying, ‘What’s going on? Get it off me, get it off me!’ And I was like, ‘Baby, I can’t! I can’t!’" Baitey said.

Baitey says the incident was so ugly witnesses thought she and her husband were dead. "I just immediately started screaming ‘we’re alive! Save me and my husband!" Baitey said.

Good Samaritans pulled them out. Chevron was okay, but Delvalo couldn’t move. "He’s a quadriplegic from the shoulders down," Baitey said.

Every day since has been a struggle. "He can’t even take a normal shower," Baitey said. "A healthy, working father, husband, son and now everything is gone."

Harold Spence, one of the couple’s lawyers, says the tree was rotted, "decayed enough for a normal-sized male to get inside parts of the decay."

Spence says the tree was on GDOT property. He accuses the agency of negligence. "You didn’t need to be an expert to know this tree was a tragedy waiting to happen, and it was simply a matter of time before it would fall," Spence said. "This need not have happened."

The couple says they’re going to file a lawsuit against GDOT. The agency would not comment due to pending litigation.

The couple has set up a GoFundMe page to cover their massive medical bills.

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