A 48-year-old woman in a passing car died after a giant tree fell onto the car and three others in Pacific Beach, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department told NBC 7 San Diego.
Powerful winds have downed dozens of trees and utility poles throughout San Diego County as the result of a winter storm that arrived just before noon.
The large oak tree, eight feet in diameter, fell across Ingraham Street, south of Grand Avenue. The massive tree crushed four cars. Three of those cars were parked and a third was driving by at the time.
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Chris Travis was driving behind the woman who was hit.
“It happened within seconds,” Travis said. “I'd say a minute of us pulling up. It was really emotional, it was rough. because you just felt helpless, it could have been us.”
Travis jumped out of his car to try and help but says there was no response from the driver. He called 911 only to find the phone lines were busy.
The tree completely blocked off the road crushing three other parked cars and even getting into neighbors' yards across the street.
It took firefighters several hours to cut through the branches and trunk and recover the victim's body.
“You just never know what's going to happen,” Travis said. “Just love your family and friends.”
All four lanes of the street are blocked as officials investigate. The area is expected to be blocked late into Sunday night.