Woman found dead, camper hit by tree in Union County

Local News

MAYNARDVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A woman was found dead late Tuesday in after a tree fell on her camper in Union County portion of Andersonville.

The Paulette Volunteer Fire Department said they responded to the scene around 10:30 p.m. to the 200 block of Jerry Hollow Road.

“First responders arrived on scene to find an individual deceased from injuries suffered as a direct result of the impact of the tree,” Union County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kenneth Crider said Wednesday. “The tree had uprooted and fell naturally across a creek and landed directly on top of the camper in which the victim resided.”

UCSO said the victim, Brenda Whitman, 55, was born in Canada and had been living in the United States for about 15 years.

A small dog was found alive inside the camper and is now being kept by the property owner’s family, the Stansberrys.

Ben Stansberry lived on the same property as Whitman. He said she lived on the property for about 11 years.

He and his wife were home when the tree fell Tuesday night.

“I know the tree had falled, but I thought it fell on the dog house,” Stansberry said.

He said his wife went outside to check which tree had fallen. She shortly headed back, running and screaming.

Stansberry said he grabbed his son and they ran out to the camper, but weren’t able to get inside. Ben said he grabbed a crowbar and broke through the front door.

“I finally got the door open; we got in there and it was too late. We tried to pick the tree up but I didn’t realize how big it was, and we couldn’t move it,” Stansberry said.

Stansberry said his wife and Whitman were close. On the day of the incident, his wife and Whitman went Christmas shopping together.

He said that Whitman was always helpful, even though she would tell you how things should be done if she helped and was an animal lover.

Stansberry said Whitman’s Labrador retriever mix was her best friend, but she also had seven cats living on the property.

Stansberry has even warned Whitman she should move her camper closer to the middle of the property, where it was a little safer. However, Whitman loved the countryside, and loved living by the creek.

“That ain’t where she wanted. (Next to the creek) was her spot down there, and she said that one of those trees would fall on her and kill her one day and it did,” Stansberry said.

Stansberry said that her family lived in Canada, but she would often show him pictures of her nieces and nephews.

The Stansberrys plan to donate any of Whitman’s belongings they find in the camper because that’s what she would’ve wanted.

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