Tree Falls on Three in Busy Shopping Center

Tall oak bloodied shoppers

By George Kiriyama
|  Sunday, Jan 31, 2010  |  Updated 10:15 AM PDT
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Tree Falls on Three in Busy Shopping Center

Bird Rock Home Rocked By Tree

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It happened so fast. One minute shoppers were walking on a sidewalk on Stevens Creek Boulevard. Then, in seconds, a tall oak tree fell on them.

Thick branches hit one woman and two men at the corner of Stevens Creek Boulevard and Mary Ave in The Oaks Shopping Center in Cupertino on Thursday night.

Some of the smaller branches hit a passing car. Tom Slee, who was inside that car, stopped and got out. He heard screaming and ran towards the fallen tree.

"I saw a person that had a lot of blood coming out of her head and she was crying", Slee said. "She couldn't move her leg."

The woman, screaming in pain, had her leg pinned under the big tree branch. Others came to help, but there was no way they were going to move the heavy tree off of her.

Slee said he felt helpless. The only thing he could do was to stay by the woman's side and comfort her until the paramedics arrived.

The woman and the two men were transported to a hospital. The woman is in critical condition. The two men's conditions are unknown, but witnesses said it appeared they would be alright.

Homeland Management Group, the company that owns The Oaks, said it will hire a certified arborist to inspect the other trees on the property next week.

This is the latest incident where a big tree has fallen during and after recent storms. Most of them have crashed to the ground because of rotting roots.

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