‘It could have been us’: Neighbor recounts rescuing child from car crushed by fallen tree

RENTON, Wash. – A memorial was growing where a 33-year-old mother was killed Monday night in Renton after a large tree, snapped by strong winds, crushed her car.

Her 4-year-old daughter survived the crash; so did the woman’s sister.

A neighbor told Q13 News he helped pull the child from the wrecked car after he got to the scene and learned a young child was still inside the car. He said he had to do something to make sure she was OK.

“My wife and I drive that road every day, it’s right next to our house,” said Ross Hudspeth. “It could have been us.”

Police say Monday’s high winds felled a tree directly into the front seats of a car on South East 179th Street.

Hudspeth says he ran to the crash to rescue the little girl, who was trapped in the car’s back seat.

“Another gentleman and I got next to the middle of the car and we were able to extract the kid out of the back seat window,” he said.

“I don’t know who he was but he coaxed the girl out of the car,” said neighbor Bill Cameron.

Cameron says he not only heard the crash, he watched it happen from his living room window.

On Tuesday, he was still coming to grips with the tragedy, knowing he watched the last moments of his neighbor’s life.

“It’s a certain sadness that somebody died right in front of my eyes,” said Cameron.

King County sheriff’s deputies said the child had no visible injuries but was taken to Harborview Medical Center to be checked out anyway.

Hudspeth insists he’s not a hero, he just hopes the family has support during a time of overwhelming grief.

“I just hope that someday this kid finds some closure,” he said. “That she can become at peace at some point with what happened.”

The victim’s sister, who was sitting in the passenger seat, also survived the crash. She was listed in serious condition at Harborview.

Deputies said it wasn’t immediately known if the tree had been on public or private property.