Photos: Tree falls on car driving down Phoenix street

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The high wind gusts that tore down more than a dozen power poles in North Phoenix are probably also responsible for uprooting a huge tree, causing it to fall on a car as it was driving down the street.

It happened Saturday evening on Paradise Village Parkway South, which is near Tatum Boulevard and Cactus Road.

Lance Williams said he was driving to Target when he saw the tree coming down out of the corner of his eye. He barely had enough time to slam on the brakes.

"The tree was coming down in front of me," he said. "Right on me, in front of me. ... About the same time I hit the brakes, it hit me," Williams said. "I freaked out. ... It covered the whole car."

The roots off the fallen tree were completely exposed. Branches and leaves were scattered all over the street.

While his car is probably totaled, Williams was not injured. Just a few more feet forward, and it would have been a very different story.

"Another foot and it would have been in the windshield," Williams said.

Williams was wearing his seat belt and both airbags deployed.

Williams said his car had been hit by a tree before. That time, the car was parked and the tree landed on the roof, causing barely any damage.

This experience was quite different.

"I've never hit a tree before," he said.

It's not for certain that weather was a factor, but Williams said it was windy before he set out and wind gusts estimated at 50 mph took down several power poles along 32nd Street between Greenway and Thunderbird roads, not far from where the tree fell.

An officer on the scene said it seems like he sees something similar to this every year during the monsoon, often because trees are not properly trimmed.