Driver’s death a ‘freak accident’

Windsor Road, Ascot. accident site.
Windsor Road, Ascot. accident site.
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A MOTORIST killed when a huge tree branch fell onto his car has been named as 64-year-old Michael Warren.

Mr Warren, of South Anston, died after a mature oak tree split at its base and crashed on top of his grey Ford Mondeo as he drove from Bracknell to Windsor, in Berkshire.

He went into cardiac arrest at the scene and later died in hospital from serious head injuries.

His wife Margaret, who was a front seat passenger, survived, suffering minor injuries.

An inquest into last Friday’s tragedy has been opened and adjourned.

Mr Warren’s family were too upset to speak yesterday. Dozens of condolence cards were displayed on the windowsill at their home in Lobelia Court.

Firefighter Steve Blackman, who attended the scene, said the branch ‘crushed the roof’ of the Mondeo, and that hydraulic equipment was needed to hoist Mr Warren out of the car. The massive branch alone was ‘the size of an average tree’, he added.

Residents living near the scene, close to Ascot Racecourse, said they thought the incident was a freak accident.

Tim Martin, 62, said: “We’ve got so many trees here, but you wouldn’t think of one coming down.

“The risk will only be reduced if they’re checking the trees on a regular basis - each one, at least once a year - but that’s very costly. It’s getting the right balance.”

He added: “When trees crash it’s a very ominous sound, you hear that characteristic crack - there’s no other sound like it.

“Those oaks are an enormous weight.”

Another resident, Carole Neck, said: “Normally the trees are well-maintained. Sadly I think it was just a freak accident, there is nothing that could be done about it.”

A woman driving a blue Mini in the opposite direction swerved to avoid the falling tree and flipped her car, but also escaped with minor injuries.

She was able to get out of her car with the help of a member of the public.

The local authority has arranged for the tree to be removed.