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

Google maps screenshot.
Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Mission retirement home over

Staff member at Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence tested positive on Oct. 13

The currently-vacant, 24-acre lot on the west side of Silver Creek. The District is hoping to turn this land into an industrial business park. Google Maps screenshot.
Industrial business park being planned for lands around Mission’s Silver Creek

Re-zoning applications for two properties to go forward to public hearing on Nov. 2

File Photo
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Agassiz Seniors Community

First declared outbreak in Agassiz-Harrison since pandemic began

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness watches the results on election night. The ex-Liberal’s tumultuous campaign and the narrow margin for victory ahead of the mail-in ballot count leaves the future of the riding’s seat in limbo for at least the next week. (Facebook/Laurie Throness)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Future for incumbent Throness uncertain as riding awaits results

Chilliwack-Kent candidate hopeful, resigned waiting on final count

The family and friends of Abbotsford resident Kaitlyn Cassels have launched a GoFundMe for her after she suffered serious injuries following a bad fall on Thursday night. (Submitted)
GoFundMe created for Abbotsford woman after horrible fall

19-year-old Kaitlyn Cassels suffers many injuries after falling 27 feet off Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government photo)
Unnamed school in Fraser Health region closed due to COVID-19

Closure announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry during daily briefing

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak forces closure of Kelowna school

The outbreak is the first within B.C.’s school system since classes resumed back in September

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

Most Read