A woman narrowly escaped being crushed by a tree on Likelike Highway Tuesday morning.
The tree crushed the front end of her car. Witnesses said it happened without warning in the blink of an eye.
“There were no warning signs. It wasn’t a typical tree fall where there is a kind of cracking down and falling. It seem like it was a landslide combined with a tree fall so it was instantaneous,” explained Thomas Russo.
Russo was driving his white truck about 25 feet back in the lane next to the woman when the tree fell.
“I just remember thinking to myself, oh my goodness, I can’t believe that just happened. I slammed on my brakes and started to skid,” said Russo.
The large ironwood tree fell just before 8 a.m. in the town-bound direction of Likelike Highway on the Honolulu side of the Wilson Tunnels.
Kuincey Banac-Aricayos was driving right behind the car that got hit.
“You didn’t hear anything. You just saw the thing happen. It’s really fast. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s scary. I don’t get scared easy, but it actually scared me,” said Banac-Aricayos.
Both men said they were relieved the woman in the car the tree fell on was okay.
“It looked like she might’ve been injured, so I jumped out. Right when I jumped out to kind of assess the situation, ran up to the car real quick and right when I ran up to the car, she is very thankful. Then I could see the tree had fallen over the front end of the car engine,” said Russo.
Banac-Aricayos said the woman told him she was worried about causing traffic.
Likelike Highway was closed in the town-bound direction for about two hours before the tree was removed from her car.
The woman didn’t want to be identified, but said she was just fine and is grateful to be alive. She said she was able to drive her car halfway home before it overheated and she had to have it towed the rest of the way.
She added that she was very grateful to everyone who helped her.
No one was hurt in the incident, but those who were there are shaken up.
“It does make me want to be extra cautious whenever we’re going around areas that are prone to tree falls,” explained Russo.
“It’s kind of scary. Talking to the other people that were there, they were like, oh my god, that could be us, and they said they drive this road all of the time because some of them work in town,” said Banac-Aricayos.
There are countless ironwood trees lining both sides of Likelike Highway.
The state Department of Transportation sent a statement that said:
“Trees along freeways and major highways such as the H-1, H-2, H-3, Likelike Highway, and Pali Highway are inspected on a biannual (twice a year) basis. The Ironwood tree that fell on Likelike Highway this morning was healthy but may have had its root system loosened by recent rains. Upon immediate assessment today there are no other trees of concern, but crews will go out and check again shortly.”
Those who were there are still concerned.
“Everybody was kind of upset. It can happen anytime because it was fast. There was no warning, which is kind of scary,” said Banac-Aricayos.