A falling tree nearly struck a passing motorist Saturday evening on West Main Street and left the road blocked for about an hour.
Rob Bernhardt and his wife, Amanda, were traveling on West Main toward downtown Saturday around 5:30 p.m. when they saw the red oak fall directly in their path.
“If we had left the house another 3 seconds earlier it would have landed right on top of us,” said Rob. “I’ve never seen such a big tree fall like that.”
An elderly driver who was traveling away from town didn’t see the tree and plowed into it. She said she was blinded by the evening sun, which was directly in her face.
“She hit it pretty good,” said McMinnville Public Works assistant director Brad Hennessee, who was standing nearby. “I’m surprised it didn’t do more damage to her car.”
The damage was minimal and she was able to drive away.
Public Works crews were able to spring into action and clear the tree using chainsaws and two backhoes. Motorists were forced to detour onto Post Road for about an hour.
While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why the tree fell, as there was minimal wind on Saturday, rain-soaked ground may have been a contributing factor. According to McMinnville Water Department, which keeps official rainfall totals, the city received 4.5 inches of rain the first six days in June.
That’s more than double the amount of rain for the entire month of May.
Totals show the city received 1.98 inches of rain for all of May.