Joelle Dalgleish was a Harrison High School student.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

Family of Cobb teen killed by fallen tree files wrongful death lawsuit

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes is representing a Cobb County family in a wrongful death lawsuit after a tree fell on their 15-year-old daughter and killed her two years ago. 

Barnes is counsel to the Dalgleish family in the lawsuit filed against the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, according to Channel 2 Action News. The family claims their daughter would still be alive if the DNR had done its job, the news station reported. 

“(It was) an obvious dead tree that had not been removed,” Barnes told Channel 2. “They did not follow their own protocols. They didn’t follow common sense.” 

Joelle Dalgleish, a Harrison High School student, was sleeping in her hammock in 2017 when the tree holding it snapped and fell on her at Red Top Mountain State Park.

Dalgleish was taken to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, where she died two days later. Her injuries reportedly included a fractured skull and spinal damage, the Bartow County coroner previously told AJC.com. Later reports indicated she might have been suffering from swelling in her brain. 

RELATED: High school student struck by tree while camping dies

According to Channel 2, documents related to the DNR’s investigation show the tree was dead and lacked a viable root system to hold it into the ground. 

A 2017 report from the DNR said: “The park staff identifies and removes dangerous trees in the park on a regular basis. Last fall, 32 trees were cut and removed from the campground and cottage areas of the park.”

However, the last documented tree removal at Red Top Mountain was in July 2015, Channel 2 reported. 

The DNR did not comment on the lawsuit, Channel 2 reported. 

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