Three cars damaged, no one hurt by falling tree in La Jolla

This car was one of three damaged when a tree fell on Girard Avenue Wednesday. Photo: Dave Schwab

Christel Carlyle talks to TV reporter Shawn Styles, who is a La Jollan, about the tree that hit her car. Photo: Dave Schwab

La Jollan Chuck Buck was on Girard Avenue just after the tree fell and captured this photo.

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

Miraculously, no one was injured when a towering eucalyptus tree near Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church at 7669 Girard Ave. in La Jolla toppled over about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday morning. It fell across the street crushing one car and seriously damaging two others parked on the opposite side.

“I was getting things out of the front of my car and putting things in the trunk and all of a sudden I heard like a crunching, and then a whoosh behind me, and a tree fell and hit me kind of in my neck and back,” said Christel Carlyle, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Del Mar who was in town on a real estate caravan. “Then I heard glass breaking and a huge crash.”

Noting the car next to her was completely smashed and that there was a third car damaged as well, Carlyle added, “I’m lucky to be alive. I’m thanking God. That’s all I can say.”

Across the street at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Pastor Jim Rafferty was having breakfast at the time of the incident.

“I looked and bingo, it fell,” he said. “It just went down in an instant.”

Rafferty said the falling of the huge eucalyptus tree on a windy day ought to serve as a wake up call.

Within minutes, a crew was cutting the tree, although Girard remained closed for a while.

A police officer talks to Christel Carlyle about what was happening when the tree fell. Photo: Dave Schwab

The uprooted tree in front of Mary Star of the Sea. Photo: Dave Schwab

“Allegedly, they’re 150 years old,” he said of the felled tree nearby. “My hope is that the mate over there in front of U.S. Bank would be taken out at the same time before we have a loss of life.”

“Really, this goes beyond trying to preserve the antiquity of our beautiful village of La Jolla,” continued Rafferty. “I’m the pastor here at Mary Star of the Sea. But today, we’re going to change the name to Mary Star of the Tree. Thank God no one was hurt.”

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Posted by Dave Schwab on Feb 2, 2011. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

4 Comments for “Three cars damaged, no one hurt by falling tree in La Jolla”

  1. Anne Telford

    I'm glad that no one was injured when the tree fell, but I have to express my sadness at the loss of yet another of the trees that help give La Jolla its charm and beauty. I have enjoyed these magnificent trees my entire life and would hate to see the others removed.

  2. blank

    eucalyptus trees are very dirty and ugly and make our comunity look ugly and dirty, down the street on kline infront of B of A you will notice standard sized clean very beautifull looking trees. we need all the eucalyptus trees removed and replaced with nice trees. eucalyptus tree root dont go deep and they get huge. this is a liability to thie city and everyone who walk and works around these dangerous trees

  3. Charlie

    You cannot be sad about this tree going down. If you look at old pictures of san diego there were not many trees that existed, because they are not native to san diego. Eucalyptus trees are from Australia and create fire hazards (they are firebombs with their sap and explode). Any large tree that has the potential to kill someone like this one needs to be trimmed appropriately. Palm trees are about only trees that can withstand hurricane winds.

  4. Mister

    These trees are a problem all over California. They aren't native and are a threat to the environment.

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