Students’ cars damaged after tree falls at Panther Village

Two cars were damaged when a tree fell at Panther Village Dec. 5, said Public Safety. Photo courtesy of Samantha Miller

A tree fell onto a student’s car and damaged another’s at Panther Village between midnight and 1 a.m. early Tuesday, said Randy Burba, chief of Public Safety.

No one was hurt, Burba said, but the car’s windshield was shattered and its roof had caved in, according to pictures of the car provided to The Panther. The vehicle belongs to Michaela Perry, who declined to comment but confirmed to The Panther that it was hers.

One of cars damaged by the tree Dec. 5 belongs to student Michaela Perry, who declined to comment to The Panther. Photo courtesy of Christian Leisner

The end of the tree hit the back of Samantha Miller’s blue Mini Cooper, Miller said. It smashed the tail light and dented the back left of the car on the driver’s side, said Miller, who is a junior film production major.

Miller doesn’t know how much the repairs will cost, but she said the university acted quickly by calling her Tuesday morning to notify her of the damage. She declined to comment on who will pay for the repairs.

Christian Leisner, a junior creative producing major, said he lives across from where the tree fell in Panther Village, behind the clubhouse. He heard a “big, loud thud” in the middle of the night, and when he left for class the next morning, he saw several workers with a crane trying to pull the log off a smashed car.

A tree service company arrived to remove the tree at around 6:30 a.m., said Dave Sundby, director of Residence Life and First Year Experience. By the time Leisner had returned from class at 10 a.m., the crane and the log were gone, but the car remained until Wednesday, he said.

Landscape workers clean the remnants of the fallen tree off of student Michaela Perry’s car. Junior film production major Samantha Miller’s Mini Cooper, left, was also damaged by the tree. Photo courtesy of Samantha Miller

During the week, a landscaping company had been trimming branches and cutting down trees in Panther Village, Leisner said.

“I don’t know if that’s related to this falling down,” Leisner said. “They were doing a lot of tree work, and then the winds caught up on Monday. I had to drive home that night and I was veering off the roads a bit.”

The incident comes during a week of heavy Santa Ana winds, which fueled four fires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Wind speeds range from 25 to 60 mph, with isolated gusts reaching 90 mph in inland Orange County Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

An emergency alert issued by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services at about 8:30 p.m. Dec. 6, warning that the strong winds created “extreme fire danger.”

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