Man walks away unharmed after tree falls on car in downtown Columbia

Tree down in front of WIS Studio

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Forest Acres man walked away unharmed after a tree fell on his pick-up truck in downtown Columbia as he waited at a traffic light Thursday afternoon.

Ray Cruz was driving down Bull Street on his way home from work before stopping at the light at the intersection of Bull Street and Gervais Street. WIS surveillance video captured the moment the large tree is uprooted, falling across Bull Street and on top of several cars.

Cruz, who said he was on the phone at the time with his wife, said he remembered the wind picking up shortly before the tree fell.

“I saw it was getting really windy, but I figured there’s no way a tree that big will fall,” he said.

Unfortunately, it did. Nevertheless, he said he remained as calm as he could with his wife on the phone, so he wouldn’t scare her. Shortly after, good Samaritans began running to his aid, using handsaws to free Cruz’s truck doors from the debris.

“It was probably around five to 10 minutes,” he said. “I could hear someone coming for me right away. It’s a miracle. It really is a miracle.”

After several minutes of clearing debris, Cruz was able to get out of his truck through the back passenger door. Richland County EMS, Columbia Police, and Columbia Fire all responded, but Cruz declined medical treatment.

“You feel great that people are caring about you,” Cruz said. “We still have people in America who love us and want to take care of us and come to our rescue as quick as possible.”

City crews will be responsible for the clean-up. Several other unoccupied cars suffered damage as a result of the tree falling into the street.

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