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Arrowhead woman survives tree crashing on car

February 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A Lake Arrowhead woman is grateful to be alive after the latest big windstorm there. A large tree came crashing down right on her vehicle, with her three children inside.

"A little bit more, a foot more we wouldn't be here," said survivor Jennifer Joiner. She doesn't remember the sound of the tree impacting her SUV. She just remembers the seconds before the tree fell.

"It was the fastest thing I think that has ever happened," said Joiner. "It was the tree falling, I slammed on the brakes, I opened my eyes. And it's a miracle we're here."

Joiner's three children got out with a few scraps, but she was trapped inside her Acura DMX.

"I tried to walk down the street, but I was dizzy," said 11-year-old Carter Joiner. Carter tried to get help. A few good samaritans called 911 and took the children to their cars until help arrived. It took San Bernardino firefighters nearly an hour to get Jennifer out.

"There was an officer Robert Gates who was just behind me the whole time telling me everything that was going on," said Jennifer. "'Close your eyes, there is going to be a loud pop, a loud noise', and they used the Jaws of Life to get to me. And then they used a chain to pull the steering wheel off my legs."

Authorities say that the tree that came crashing down was the result of strong winds that slammed the Inland Empire Wednesday. But the wind is not the only factor that brought down the oak tree, a closer look inside the trunk showed it was rotting from the inside out.

Joiner came away with no serious injuries. Through it all she says a higher power was watching out for her and her family.

"You know it was something they said we shouldn't have lived," said Jennifer. "And so for them to come and get me out, and everything is still intact, that's great. They did a great job. I'm so thankful."

For now, Joiner says she will be avoiding Old Waterman Canyon Road and continue to count her blessings.