Woman Found Dead in SUV's Back Seat After Tree Falls Onto Car: Police

A woman in California has died after a large tree fell on top of an SUV while she was inside, according to police.

Police in Anaheim, just southeast of Los Angeles, said the tree fell onto the maroon-colored Ford SUV that was parked near the south end of Pearson Park, on North Harbor Boulevard, at about 3 p.m. on Sunday.

According to ABC7, Anaheim Police Department (APD) Sgt. John McClintock said: "Upon officers' and fires' arrival, they located a woman in the backseat, trapped under the large tree."

Stock image of a police car
A stock image of a police car. The woman was killed after the tree fell on an SUV she was in. Getty

The woman, whose identity was not revealed, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly afterward, according to the network. She was the only person inside the SUV at the time, police added.

Police told the network said the woman had been in the park with family members, although it was not clear whether they witnessed what happened.

It is unclear what caused the tree to fall and crews worked into the evening to remove it from the vehicle, according to ABC7.

According to the Reiff Law Firm, figures cited from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed that, on average, there are more than 100 landscape and tree fatalities across the U.S. every year.

There have been numerous cases across the country where people have been crushed by trees.

In July, a seven-year-old girl was killed when a tree fell on her family's tent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, at the Elkmont Campground, Tennessee.

The red maple tree, which was about two feet in diameter, crushed the girl, although the father and two siblings were unharmed.

While people might be keen to cut down a tree they consider poses a danger, there are numerous things to consider, such as whether it would be legal to do so.

In California, cities routinely prune and cut back trees that are on city property, or if they endanger city property, according to legal firm Equity Legal.

The legal firm added: "First, you will need to determine whether the tree is on city property. Visit your local city hall and review the city map to locate where the tree sits.

"If the tree is on city property, determine the department that is in charge of tree maintenance. A city clerk can help you locate the correct office.

"Even if the tree is on private property, the city may step in and trim it back if the tree is interfering with city property, such as the obstruction of a sidewalk, crosswalk or blocking the view at an intersection."

A city in California might also step in and order an owner to trim or remove a tree that is in violation of the local ordinance if it is:

  • A diseased or hazardous tree
  • A tree that resides in a fire zone
  • A tree that blocks a neighbor's view
  • A tree that exceeds height limits
  • A tree that is prohibited by law
  • Or, are trees that are used as fence lines

Newsweek has contacted the APD for comment.