LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – A Littleton man, who was impaled by the branch of a fallen tree during Saturday’s rare storms, could be released from the hospital later this week following several surgeries. On Wednesday, Erich Newman’s wife spoke with CBS4 about the freak incident that injured the father and his 9-year-old daughter.
On Saturday, Newman and his family were at his mother’s house in southwest Denver to help with some chores. When the derecho windstorm came through the area, a large spruce tree in the front yard fell down.
Erich and his daughter, Kaitlyn, who were on the driveway at the time, were both impaled and pinned by the tree.
“He wanted to protect me, so he kind of pushed me to the side,” Kaitlyn said. “It was the whole tree, but he pushed me to a hollow spot.”
“Daddy did his job,” said Kristin Newman, Erich’s wife. “Daddy protected her, daddy saved her, daddy held her hand until they were able to get her out from under the tree.”
Nine-year-old Kaitlyn was quickly taken to the hospital, where a large wound in her left leg was stitched up. Despite still having to use crutches on Wednesday, she was in good spirits and thankful for what her father did.
Erich, on the other hand, had a different experience. His wife, Kristin, tells CBS4 it took firefighters about 45 minutes to get him out from underneath the tree.
He was then taken to Denver Health, where he remains. Newman has since undergone three surgeries.
“He was impaled by a close to 4-inch diameter size branch. It went into his back and came out his front side,” said Kristin Newman. “It was about an inch from his spinal cord, and it missed his kidneys by a centimeter.”
Four days later, Erich’s family is not sure whether to call him a hero or a miracle.
“It could’ve been so much worse,” Kristin Newman said. “A centimeter difference and this could’ve been a different story.”
According to his wife, Erich could even come home from the hospital this week. He plans to bring one keepsake with him as a reminder of what happened.
“He has saved the branch,” Newman said. “He’s like, ‘Yeah I’m going to bring it home and we can put it on the mantle.’”
Erich’s wife says he will need months of treatment and rehab, and right now they’re not sure how bad the medical bills could get. Friends have urged them to create a GoFundMe page to collect donations.