Tree branch falls into traffic, injuring two - FOX 13 News

Tree branch falls into traffic, injuring two

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A huge piece of a pine tree crashed down into traffic Tueday, right on top of two women in a convertible Mustang, pinning the passenger to the front seat.

It happened on Crenshaw Lake Road off U.S. 41 at about 10:30 a.m.  Shattered glass littered the entire Mustang and the ground around it.  The windshield crumpled into pieces and broken off tree limbs were scattered across the front seat.

"I heard a smash and then I heard a car horn," said Mike Wiggen, who lives near where the tree fell.  "I hear this lady screaming 'help me, help me, help me.'"

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says 28-year-old Melissa Lewis of Palm Harbor was behind the wheel.  58-year-old Diana Lewis was her passenger.

Blame Debby.  The tropical storm is terrorizing the entire Tampa Bay area, and trees that have stood the test of time are no match.  Todd Chaplin was two cars behind the Mustang when almost half of the big tree came crashing down.

"The tree was very spiny and thorny and it had a lot of thick branches sticking all through the car," Chaplin told FOX 13.

Chaplin, Wiggen, and other neighbors and drivers rushed in to help.  They pried the convertible top back and picked up the limbs pinning down Diana Lewis.  Chaplin says she was in and out of it.  He says Melissa was at least walking around.

"The driver was in shock and she was on the side of the road and some guy jumped out and took his shirt off and held it to her head so he could calm her down," said Chaplin.

Wiggen says Melissa Lewis told him she's getting married this weekend.  He says both women are lucky to be alive.

"I kept telling her if it had come this much more, you'd be dead because a convertible isn't going to take that," Wiggen said.

Melissa Lewis was treated and released from the hospital.  Tuesday afternoon, Diana was in serious condition.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the tree caused about $10,000 worth of damage to the car.

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