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Tree falls on truck, two hurt
WEB tree on truck 7-7-08
Two men suffered minor injuries when a tree fell on this pickup truck at the Hwy. 9-Castleberry Road crossing. - photo by Jim Dean

If someone yelled “timber,” J. Merced Gutierrez didn’t hear it.

The top portion of a large pine tree fell onto Gutierrez' Ford F-250 on Monday, smashing through the bed and windshield.

Both he and his passenger were injured, though not seriously, authorities said.

Karleen Chalker with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said a crew with Cheoah Construction Co. encountered a problem while removing a tree at the southwest corner of Hwy. 9 and Castleberry Road.

While the base of the tree fell away from Hwy. 9, the top portion snapped, dropping toward the intersection and onto the pickup truck.

“They were clearing some of the trees from the intersection and they were pushing some of the trees away from the roadway,” Chalker said.

“What apparently occurred is the top of one of the pine trees broke off and tumbled onto some other debris and onto the roadway and struck this truck.”

Gutierrez, who works for Rehab Construction, was driving his work truck,  Chalker said. Passenger Tomas Ramirez does not work for the firm, she said.

Attempts to reach the company were not successful.

The 34-year-old driver and his 38-year-old passenger were taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth with injuries that were not life threatening. They were treated and released, said George Ivey, a spokesman for the hospital.

The tree work was part of a Department of Transportation intersection improvement project. The tree was being removed to make way for a new turn lane and signal.

Bill Harnish, who works nearby, said he was driving behind the truck when the tree fell. Because he knew about the construction, Harnish said he was driving slower than usual.

“The equipment was working back from the road, but this tree fell the other way," he said. "I saw the trees swaying, so I slowed down. Then bam, one fell on the truck in front of me."

Chief Photographer Jim Dean contributed to this report.