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Huge tree falls on car in Costa Mesa, 1 dead

September 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A tree toppled onto a passing car in Costa Mesa on Thursday. Police have confirmed that the female driver has died.

A eucalyptus tree about 50 feet tall fell onto a Hyundai Accent around 2 p.m. along Irvine Avenue.

Police will not confirm if the tree fell on its own or if the driver hit it and then it came crashing down. However at least one witness says that the car never left the street and that the tree came down on its own.

One arborist expert also says that the tree could have been diseased.

"Without having seen it I couldn't say," said arborist Eric Gorsuch. "But trees generally don't fall over when their roots can hold them up."

A number of witnesses also said that the woman was alive right after the tree landed on her car.

"They were talking to her, communicating with her, she was still talking back about everything," said witness Mackenzie Soylular. "She was okay, she was alive and breathing. They said that she was under the dashboard because she dove to miss the tree."

But due to the size of the tree, Newport Beach firefighters had to wait to get equipment to lift the tree off the vehicle and it was too late.

"But it was too heavy and it just dropped back down and it kind of smashed the car even more," said Soylular. "Probably an hour later a crane came to take it off, but she was already dead by then."

Firefighters say that's not what happened and they did everything they could.

"The tree was lifted and at that time the firefighters stabilized it and it never went back down," said Jennifer Schulz from the Newport Beach Fire Department.

The exact time of death has not been confirmed. The victim was the only occupant in the vehicle.

Her identity has not been released. Police say she was 29-year-old Irvine resident.

As a precaution, police cut down the tree next to the fallen eucalyptus. It was due to the fact that the roots may have been entangled, or it could possibly have had something else wrong with it.


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