PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – One Panama City man was just getting some shut eye in his car during Tropical Storm Fred when the unimaginable happened: a tree fell on top him.
“I was just sitting down in my friend’s room and all of a sudden I heard a big pop louder that was louder than a gun shot and I heard my best friend screaming somebody call 911,” Panama City resident Cheyenne Bare said.
It was a nightmare come to life for Tracy Skipper as she watched from the laundry room of a friend’s home, a gust of wind brining down a tree from across the street right on top of the car that her friend, Charles Shuman, was in.
“My first reaction was fear, definitely fear for him,” Skipper said.
The tree came down right in the middle of the vehicle, trapping Shuman inside, while the storm raged on.
“He was shaking. And he was kind of pinned in, he couldn’t move much, we didn’t see any blood pooling anywhere and he told us what day of the week it was and told us his name, we just prayed at that point and waited for the 911 responders,” Shuman’s friend and co-worker Joshua Long said.
Long said those first responders were there in less than 10 minutes and had to cut the tree off the car in order to get Shuman out.
They were able to do that and get him to the hospital, but Skipper said it was still a close call.
“One of the workers said that had he looked up at the snapping of the tree he probably would be dead, but rather he heard the power lines pop first and he leaned forward and that probably saved his life,” Skipper said.
Skipper met him at the hospital and was surprised to hear he only had a head laceration and was put in a neck brace.
After seeing what he went through, she said it could have been 100 times worse.
“Well when grandpa, he wasn’t here. But yeah, he’s already dubbing it the ‘Millville miracle.’ This tree smashed all the way down past the hood, it is somewhat of a miracle he’s not hurt,” Long said.
The car is still sitting in the driveway, destroyed, but Shuman is not.
“I feel a lot of relief this is not something I thought I would have to deal with today you know? He’s been part of my life since I was 13, it’s good to know he’s okay,” Skipper said.
Shuman’s friends said he is still being treated, but we don’t know his exact condition at this time.