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Posted on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

Tree falls on Ypsilanti Township fire captain's truck on his commute to work

By Kody Klein

tree.JPG

Dave Kint, foreman for Michigan State Trunkline Maintenance, said the tree was 5 to 6 feet in diameter.

Photo courtesy Captain Larry James of the Ypsilanti Township Fire Department

During his Wednesday morning commute, Ypsilanti Township Fire Department captain Larry James was anticipating a long list of accident reports and calls as a result of Tuesday's weather conditions.

However, he wasn't expecting to be involved in one of them.

The fire captain's commute was suddenly stalled when a tree came crashing down on his truck while traveling east on East Michigan Avenue between Case and Willow roads, in Saline Township.

"When it hit, it was just an explosion," he said. "It stared at my grill, went up my hood and came crashing through the windshield."

truck.JPG

James said the tree crashed through his truck's windshield, hitting the truck's steering column and his leg.

Photo courtesy of Captain Larry James of the Ypsilanti Township Fire Department

James said after the limb came through the windshield, it hit the steering column and then his leg.

"Had it not hit the steering column first, I’d have been in a bit of trouble," he said.

Jim Harmon, director of operations for the Washtenaw County Road Commission, said the agency was notified of the accident at 6:05 a.m.

"The entire road was blocked due to this fallen tree," said Dave Kint, foreman for Michigan State trunkline maintenance.

Kint said the tree hit a semi-truck as well. He said its base was about 5 to 6 feet in diameter — which usually would be a tree about 15 to 19 feet around.

James said his leg was a bit stiff from after the limb hit it, but other than that, he was unharmed. Despite the holes in the windshield, he drove the truck the rest of the way to the fire department, making a point to take back roads.

"It was a real slow drive — kind of chilly," he said. "I shouldn’t have driven it, but I had to get to work and I wasn’t going to wait for a wrecker."

Kint said the tree is no longer obstructing traffic after he and his crew cut the limbs from it and moved the debris off of the road.

Harmon said residents are welcome to pick the wood up from the side of the road for personal use.

"It’s not uncommon for citizens to help themselves to the wood for firewood," he said. "We don’t object to that."

James said the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office and the Clinton Fire Department were on the scene as well. Neither were available for comment.


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Comments

norainnorainbow

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

Ah ha! This is why I couldn't make it to work yesterday! Glad everyone is okay!

jns131

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 11:30 a.m.

I think the tress are trying to tell us something.

justcurious

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

How fortunate for him and the semi driver. It looks like the semi was following behind him and could have easily creamed him. Glad it turned out like it did.

mady

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

Larry, glad you're all right. thanks for everything you guys do!

Solitude

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 6:38 p.m.

Did anyone read this article before it was posted? The headline and first paragraph identify the Larry James as a captain, then he's called a "fire chief" in the third paragraph. The headline says "Ypsilanti" fire captain, then the first paragraph says he works for Ypsilanti Township fire department, which is a completely different department than Ypsilanti (city) FD.

PrevoTownie

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

"Kint said the tree hit a semi-truck as well. He said its base was about 5 to 6 feet in diameter — which usually would be a tree about 15 to 19 feet around." - Something sounds amiss with this statement as well. 15 to 19 feet around, I think not and the tree looks to be about 3-4' in diameter comparing it to a semi tire size.

DBH

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 9:59 p.m.

@Solitude, I'd still be interested as well to know if anyone proofread the article, before or AFTER it was posted. "When it hit, it was just an explosion," he said. "It STARED [emphasis mine] at my grill, went up my hood and came crashing through the windshield." Either that was one malevolent, willful tree, or someone left out a "t."

Cole Bertsos

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

@Solitude- Thanks for pointing that out — the corrections have been made!

Paul

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time.