Police, Good Samaritans Lift Tree Off Car, Freeing Driver

A tree came crashing down onto a moving car on Beach Drive in Washington, D.C., Monday night, crushing the roof and seriously injuring the driver.

Responding police officers and witnesses lifted the tree off the car and were able to move the vehicle to a clear area. Firefighters still had to cut the mangled roof off the car and got the driver out.

The man was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The accident left some who witnessed it stunned in disbelief.

"The car was moving, so it's really a one in a million kind of thing," said Alex Lindahl, one of the people who helped lift the tree. "It's just crazy to see. We lifted the tree and then pushed the car out from under it."

A U.S. Park Police officer arrived on the scene shortly after the accident, followed by other police officers and park rangers.

"The tree is pretty sizable," said Sgt. Anna Rose, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Park Police. "I’m not sure the officer would have been able to do it alone, adrenalin or not."

It is unknown if the tree fell, snapped and came down or if it uprooted and fell. The size of the tree required a coordinated effort to move it off the car.

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"I would say there were probably five police officers, a couple of park rangers and seven or eight pedestrians," Lindahl said.

There are lots of very old large growth trees in Rock Creek Park, and this isn't the first time something like this has happened. A few years ago during a snow storm, a man was killed when a tree fell on his car just about a mile from the spot of this accident.

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