By Dave Schwab
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.
“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.”