Neighbors say Oakland County man's death caused by falling tree could've been prevented

Posted at 4:48 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 21:02:51-04

WHITE LAKE TWP. (WXYZ) — Questions are being raised after a falling tree suddenly takes the life of a local family man who was driving along a busy road in Oakland County. Some in White Lake Township say it's an accident that could have been prevented.

“He was a great guy who would help anybody out he could, like they say he’d give the shirt off his back,” said Tom Meloche, the best friend of Ron Ohlinger.

Family members say 42-year-old Ohlinger was devoted to his kids and wife more than anything else. He was also known to so many throughout his community as a proud owner of local tattoo and pizza shops.

After word spread of his sudden death Monday night, after a large tree fell onto his minivan, countless social media posts began immediately sharing condolences and sympathy online.

“He started with a tattoo company in Clarkston then a pizza shop next door, and everything he did was for his family," Meloche said. "They just opened a second location in Waterford.”

7 Action News has learned that Ohlinger's daughter was also injured in the incident, and has now been released from the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“There was a company out there," said Ohlinger's neighbor Dennis Brennan. "They notched the whole center of the trees out and leaving 2,000-3,000 pounds limbs over the road and somebody is going to get killed and it happened.”

Neighbors say they did see a tree trimming service working in the area prior to the horrible incident on Williams Lake Road, just south of M-59. However, police haven't said anything about it yet regarding whether or not it could have played a factor.

Police also say it's too soon for them to comment on anything beyond initial reports. DTE says so far, they have no reason to believe they, nor any of their partners, were involved in the incident.

DTE also released this statement following their investigation: "While DTE has confirmed that a contractor has been performing tree trimming in the neighborhood, they haven’t been working at the specific location for weeks. This particular tree was not subject to trimming as it did not interfere with the power lines."

A GoFundMe page has been made to accept donations for the family here.