PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Southeast Portland woman, Jeannie Harwood, is thankful to be alive after a large fir tree narrowly missed crushing her in her minivan just before noon.
Her partner, musician Charles Suniga, is fortunate he was not electrocuted trying to rescue her.
The incident began a block from their home as Harwood began a Christmas errand.
Harwood said she remembers coming to a full stop at the corner before turning right on Southeast 142nd Avenue.
“So I went to turn, I just started to turn and my windshield just [obliterated]. And I thought a big huge branch had fallen on it," she said. "I didn’t know. And then more branches just kept coming! And I was kind of stunned and I looked back and I saw the power lines wrapped around the car.”
Her partner, Charles, heard the crash and raced out the front door of their home.
“I just felt that she was in trouble. So I just bolted out of the house,” he said.
He saw Jeannine dazed, the van covered by branches and wires.
He moved quickly.
“I wanted to get her out in case the car caught fire,” he said. “That was my only thing. I kept feeling like that could catch fire.”
Faced with what he thought was the least awful of two bad choices, he moved toward the van and did something even he would tell you not to do. He touched it.
“Normally, you don’t ever,” he said. “Let them stay in the car you know?” he added.
But as his mind raced over the options, it seemed like the best choice.
“I wasn’t about to let that catch fire and we couldn’t get to her,” he said.
Somehow, the electric wire was dead.
It’s something they never even considered would happen to them.
“Never. Never. Never,” said Jeannine shaking her head. "It’s unreal.”
And yet, its an unreal story with a happy ending.
When asked if she felt lucky or unlucky after the day’s events, Jeannine did not hesitate.
“Extremely lucky. Are you kidding? Powers that be! Thank you, thank you!” she said.