Trees fall on car, traps 2 inside

By Ashley Harding, General assignment reporter, aharding@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 18 2014 05:12:51 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 19 2014 05:55:24 AM EDT

A tree falls on a car with a mother and son trapped inside.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A Southside mother and her 8-year-old son were trapped inside their car Monday when two large trees fell on it in front of their home and brought down power lines.

A video taken by a neighbor shows authorities working to free Melissa Smith and her son Kaleb,  from the crushed car.

Authorities told News4Jax Monday night that one tree fell on the other, causing them both to land on the car at the same time.

Next-door neighbor Ken Godwin said he realized right away that something was wrong.

“I thought I had remembered her leaving or coming up to the house,” Godwin said. “I wasn’t sure, so I called 911. I said, ‘Someone might be in the car as well as the trees being down.’”

Godwin said rescue workers arrived quickly but it took them some time to saw through the 3-foot-wide tree trapping the Smith and her son in the car.

Police said both were rushed to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Smith's fiancé told News4Jax that less than three months ago, she was in a motorcycle accident where she was seriously injured.

Neighbors told News4Jax that they are worried about the woman and hope that Monday’s accident didn’t do anything to reinjure her.

“She’s still recovering from that,” said Chuck Johnson. “All of these broken bones and stuff like that. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, not a good year for her.’”

Most of the people in the area Monday night were shocked at how the tree fell on the car. One of the trees was uprooted during a strong afternoon storm.

“Mother Nature doesn't care. You can’t really prepare for this,” Godwin said. “There’s not much you can do about it, just hope for the best.”

"We've been nervous about these trees for a while, we cut one down last year that we knew was going bad, but we've contacted people to try to see about getting them cut down and you know, JEA didn't give us any help with that, so we just, we were waiting to do them on our own, and I guess Mother Nature had other plans," said Melissa Smith. 

Smith arrived home from the hospital just before 11 p.m. Monday.  She spoke briefly with News4Jax in front of her home.  

"We both walked away healthily," said Smith. "He walked out of the hospital on his on accord, so did I. Thankfully other than some cosmetic damage, we're okay." 

Smith told reporters that Monday was her son's first day of 3rd grade, she also said that on Kaleb's last day of 2nd grade, they were involved in an accident.  

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