JACKSONVILLE, Fla — One man is dead after a tree branch fell on his car in the Ortega Wednesday afternoon as Tropical Storm Elsa moved through the area.
“Anytime a tropical storm comes through, I see a lot of tree branches," Ortega homeowner Morgan Singletary explained. "A lot of fallen trees."
However, what Singletary heard from his backyard was more than an old tree branch give way.
“All of a sudden I hear this loud crash," he described. "And then two to three minutes later, because I know there’s a fire station right down the road, I hear a bunch of sirens pulling up.”
A Dodge Challenger and Toyota Highlander were both traveling north in the 4900 block of Roosevelt Blvd. at around 3:30 p.m. when a branch gave way, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
The Challenger's roof was ripped off by the branch. JSO said the driver of the vehicle, identified only as a man in his 20's, was instantly killed by the impact.
The Highlander also received some damage from the tree, but its driver was not hurt.
“It’s terrible. It really is, it’s a freak accident. It’s an act of God. Whatever you want to call it," JSO Lieutenant Bouye said. "It comes down and hits the car perfectly, and it’s going to end this young man’s life.”
The tree branch fall also knocked down powerlines, causing power outages in the neighborhood south of the accident.
The northbound lanes of Roosevelt Boulevard reopened from Ortega Boulevard to Yacht Club Road at 7:00 p.m.
At a press conference Wednesday evening, Mayor Lenny Curry said the incident was the only known fatality from the storm, calling it a tragedy.