‘I’m lucky that I’m alive’: Tree saves man from runaway SUV

SAN DIEGO -- A man in University City said that only a tree stood between him and certain death this morning after a Range Rover crashed into the area where he was working.

Eduardo Valdez was installing lights on the tree in a Governor Drive shopping area when a woman lost control of her SUV, crashing into an outdoor restaurant patio before barreling toward Valdez.

He said that if it weren’t for the tree, he may not have survived the accident.

“I was just working right here in this area when the car lost control and came straight toward the tree. I was working behind the tree, so it was blocking me,” he said. “It hit the tree and stopped on the tree, so I’m lucky that I’m alive.”

Valdez said that just five minutes beforehand, the patio had been filled with diners, but it cleared out shortly before the crash.

Police said that the driver of the Range Rover was uninjured, but that one person reported minor injuries, possibly from the flying debris.