Oak tree blocks road, hits van

JEA crews restored power on San Marco street

By Kumasi Aaron - Reporter/The Morning Show anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Residents of a San Marco street said they are grateful after an oak tree fell on a van in the middle of the night. It happened on Pineridge Road.

Wes Aho was walking his dogs when he heard a strange popping noise.

"I couldn't really make out what that sound was so we were coming this way anyway to check it down to see what's that noise, and that's when we saw the whole tree go down," said Aho. "I just happened to be in the right place at the right time but luckily I wasn't under the tree when it came down."

Part of the large tree fell on Lynn Freeland's van. Luckily, he can still drive it, and it only has damage to the windshield, fender and hood. But Freeland says it could have been much worse.

"If it had been 5 feet backwards it would have not been at all," said Freeland. "But things things happen and it was unfortunate but ill just have to deal with it."

Neighbors said the tree has been here for about 50 years.

When it first happened there were power lines down in the street and power went out at a few houses nearby. JEA crews spent hours trying to make the street safe and restoring power. 

Andy Bragg woke up after hearing the loud crash, and when he realized it was this tree, he said he wasn't surprised. He said over time, it began to lean closer and closer to the street.

"It was just going to fall at some point," said Bragg. "We're just happy it fell at 1 a.m. (with) no kids playing, no traffic through here because on a school day this is a cut through for the high schools and yeah, it could have been pretty bad."

It's something the Jensen family is extremely thankful for, even as the tree lays in their front yard. Their two young children used to play under it all the time. 

"We went to work yesterday and they were right where the tree was we said goodbye to them when we went to work last night," said Martin Jensen. "We're talking about a few hours so we really see the Lord's hand in that."

On Wednesday, a tree fell on a mobile home in Southwest Gainesville, killing a 42-year-old woman and critically injuring her 40-year-old boyfriend. Three children were on the other side of the home and were not hurt. Deputies said the tree had been rotting and high winds likely caused it to topple.

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