Huge trees toppled in both D.C. and Maryland; wind gusts possible, woman hurt

Scene in Tacoma Park, Md. where a large tree fell and injured a woman. (Photo: WJLA/Jay Korff)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- Wind gusts were speculated as a possible cause of toppled trees along streets in both the District of Columbia and the D.C. suburb of Takoma Park, Md. on Monday, injuring at least one person.

A large tree came crashing down on Tilden Street NW in the District in the morning, crushing a minivan and cutting off traffic between Reno Road and Connecticut Avenue.

Tree removal crews spent about three hours chopping up and removing the 80-year-old oak tree.

No injuries occurred and minivan owner Michael Sera said he was "very thankful" that he wasn't in the car when the tree fell.

He said he was in a state of disbelief when he walked outside and saw his vehicle literally cut in half by the force of the toppled 60-to-70-foot pin oak tree.

“I couldn't believe it,” Sera said. “We just parked the car, came to the embassy—no more than 15 minutes—and it fell."

Neighbor Jan Sten, who witnessed the tree fall over, called the sight "amazing."

"I've seen lots of trees tumble over during storms, but I have never seen a tree just topple over," she said. "I was shocked.”

Andrew Beall of Adirondack Tree Removal said overgrown tree roots that had "nowhere to go" and cracked the sidewalk were a contributing factor in the incident.

Meanwhile in Takoma Park, another huge tree came tumbling down in the late afternoon hours near the intersection of Holly and Dogwood avenues.

Nearby residents said they heard the tree fall and then looked outside to see a woman and her young child trapped under the debris.

“Suddenly the lights flickered and we heard this thud,” said neighbor Michael Richards. “We looked outside, and there it was.”

Angel Ignato gave a similar account: “All I literally saw was a flash from the power line snapping, and then I heard what basically sounded like thunder to me.”

The child was miraculously unhurt, while the mother suffered relatively minor injuries. Witnesses agreed that the pair were lucky to have survived.

“If she had been any more to the left of where she was, she could have had more than just a branch fall on her,” Ignato said.

As Richards summed it up: “You count your blessings,”.