A Surrey firefighter cleans up debris from Linda Simpson’s vehicle, as well as the tree that hit it. (Contributed photo)

Falling tree crushes front of SUV carrying Surrey woman, granddaughters

City confirms ‘failure’ has triggered risk assessment of Croydon Drive trees

A South Surrey woman is calling for a thorough examination of city trees along Croydon Drive, after one crashed onto her vehicle Tuesday afternoon.

“That needs to be done, this whole area,” Linda Simpson said Thursday, during a return visit to the scene.

Simpson estimates the tree that hit her Hyundai Tucson was at least 60 feet tall, with a trunk a good foot in diameter. It snapped with essentially no warning just before 4 p.m., slamming down on the front end of her vehicle as she drove south in the 3000-block of Croydon, towards her son’s home.

Her two young granddaughters were in the back seat.

“I saw it leaning,” Simpson said Thursday, recalling the seconds before impact. “I thought, that’s odd.

“I just braked right away and hoped it would fall in front of me. But it didn’t.”

The tree hit with such force that it crumpled the Hyundai’s front end and crushed its windshield, sending broken glass into Simpson’s face. One branch penetrated the radiator; others ripped pieces off the vehicle, scattering the debris across the road.

READ ALSO: Tree falls on Surrey worker

READ ALSO: Tree falls on power lines in Surrey

Thursday afternoon, in addition to the cuts visible on her face, bruising to Simpson’s hands and arms was starting to show.

Fortunately, 10-year-old Chloe and seven-year-old Elise – the daughters of Peace Arch News sales rep Colin Simpson – were, aside from some seatbelt bruising, uninjured physically in the experience. Chloe told PAN she was focused on her phone at the time Simpson gave the alert that she had to hit the brakes. Elise, too, didn’t see the tree coming.

Chloe said when she looked up immediately after the crash, she saw the shattered windshield, and a wiper protruding into the car. Her Nana’s face was “bloody and dirty,” Chloe said.

“My legs were shaking,” said Elise, adding she can’t get “the boom” – the noise of the tree hitting the vehicle – out of her head.

Simpson has no doubt the close call is weighing on the sisters, and expects the experience will continue to sink in over the coming days.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon they said to me, ‘Nana, thank you very much for braking when you did – you saved our lives,’” Simpson said.

Simpson said she, too, is increasingly cognizant that things could have ended differently, particularly if the tree had landed on the Hyundai’s “moonroof” – a panoramic sunroof that extends from front to back.

“Life could’ve been just totally different after that,” she said.

She said she is thankful to all the “amazing” people who stopped to help, from the man who was driving behind her when it happened and called 911, to the young man who was first in line northbound and opened his vehicle to the family in the aftermath; as well, the emergency crews who responded.

And, she is thankful her new dog, Prince, a chihuahua-terrier rescue from California, was also unhurt.

In reporting the incident and her concerns to the city, Simpsons said she was told that her experience was the second such occurrence along that stretch of road, and that an assessment would be prioritized.

The news only strengthened her belief that all of the trees along that stretch of road need to be assessed.

“If that’s the second time that that’s happened, maybe somebody needs to take a look at it,” she said.

Friday afternoon, City of Surrey parks manager Neal Aven confirmed a “tree risk assessment is underway… to look at the site to review the tree failure.”

Trees along Croydon between 28 and 30 Avenues will all be assessed, he added, and any pruning or other work identified “will be scheduled for completion.”

Aven encouraged anyone with concerns about any of the city’s trees or parks to report those to the city’s call centre, at 604-501-5050, via email to parks@surrey.ca or via the MySurrey app.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

All that remains of the tree that fell across Linda Simpson’s vehicle Tuesday afternoon. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Linda Simpson wants the City of Surrey to assess the safety of trees along South Surrey’s Croydon Drive after one fell across her vehicle Tuesday afternoon, as she was driving with her granddaughters Elise (left) and Chloe, and dog Prince. It smashed her windshield and caused significant damage to its front end. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Just Posted

Man from Mexico reported missing in Abbotsford

Antonio Fernandez, 29, was last seen on Monday, May 25

Crane truck topples over at Abbotsford courthouse construction site

Nobody injured in incident on Trethewey Street and George Ferguson Way

Chilliwack trustee removed from committees, district invites

Barry Neufeld’s censure involves four forms of reprimand due to recent Facebook post

FVRD activates its emergency operations centre to monitor Fraser River levels

FVRD activates its emergency operations centre to monitor Fraser River levels

Mission senior honours fallen Snowbird

Bruce Smith, 78, decorated his car with various pieces of military memorabilia to raise awareness

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

Death toll rises in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

Number has risen to 22, making it the worst to date in B.C.

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Most Read