Jogger Crushed by Tree Was Young Teacher

Freak accident claims jogger's life

A jogger probably didn't know what hit her when a 30-foot long tree branch fell and killed her as she was running near Valley Green in Fairmount Park Wednesday night. She was wearing an iPod, which was still playing, when her body was found, police said.

Police believe she may not have heard the branch breaking because of the music.

The woman was identified as 23-year-old Mary Kathryn Ladany. She was originally from North Jersey, but moved to Philadelphia to teach at Dobbins Career and Tech High School. She was a graduate of Bucknell University, the school confirmed.

The young woman was called "Katie" by family and friends. "She was just nice to everyone," neighbor Mike Flora said. "She had everything going for her, I can't believe something like that happened."

It appeared that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ladany was crushed by the heavy branch, which fell 50-feet onto a trail near Forbidden Drive. The recent wild weather may have weakened the branch, authorities said.

"She has head injuries, what appears to be a broken neck and a compound fracture of her right leg," Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Investigators asked for the public's help to identify Ladany. They originally didn't know who she was because she was not carrying any identification when the accident happened. She was eventually identified because of an old high school tee-shirt she was wearing.

The freak accident disturbed other people exercising in the park. "It could have been me," biker Danielle Tansits admitted. "It's upsetting and scary."

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