IRVINE, Calif. - A falling tree struck a 13-year-old girl in the head, causing serious injuries to the teen during Friday's powerful storm in Irvine.
Teresa Johnston left her University Park home in the afternoon to walk her neighbor's dogs, but never returned. Roch and Vera Johnston searched the neighborhood for their missing daughter for half an hour before learning that one of the several trees toppled by the storm had hit and severely injured her.
"A neighbor found her, put a pillow under her head and a blanket on top of her and held an umbrella until an ambulance and police came," Roch Johnston said while holding back tears.
The tree was approximately 60 feet tall.
"She's known in the neighborhood as 'Little Sunshine.' She always tries to make everyone feel good," Roch Johnston said.
The neighborhood has rallied to help Teresa Johnston and her family as she undergoes surgery. A crowdfunding page was set up to help the family with medical expenses.
While the tragedy has rattled the family, they said the outpouring of love and affection has been tremendously comforting.
"She's very special. She has a long way ahead of her to get better, to get well. We are really overwhelmed and comforted within this turmoil with all the support, with all the love and prayers from people we don't even know," Vera Johnston said.