You would think the Tesla Model S is a friend of the trees, being that cleaner air is the whole point of the electric luxury car. But for one big tree in northeast Seattle, the high-end vehicle was just something to land on during a windstorm.
The unoccupied car, owned by RealNetworks founder and CEO Rob Glaser, was parked at the Meadowbrook Community Center on Sunday. The afternoon windstorm caused widespread power outages and damage and, elsewhere in the city, one fatality.
Glaser was at Meadowbrook for his son’s soccer game and said he went outside to get something from his car only to discover that the “tree had gotten there first.” Glaser said the city tree, planted next to the sidewalk, was toppled over at the roots and fell into the parking lot.
“Its trunk landed squarely on my front hood,” Glaser told GeekWire on Tuesday. “It smashed so hard that the branch where it hit snapped after breaking my sunroof and rear window. In addition to my car, it damaged at least one other car and blocked two others.”
“The fire department came after about 30 minutes and after cutting away one small branch they decided my car was wedged/impaled on the tree and they didn’t think they could cut it loose,” Glaser said. “Since they were in crisis response mode, they quickly left.”
But Glaser said a good Samaritan with a chainsaw came by and determined he could get the car free.
“After cutting loose all the other cars and most of the branches, I asked him if he could do anything more to help me,” Glaser said. “He adjusted his chainsaw and scouted out the situation and then hovered the chainsaw 3 inches over my hood and very carefully cut a small piece from the big tree branches impaled on my car. The tree moved slightly but his experiment revealed that the tree was now mostly resting on two other big branches and he cut my car free.”
Glaser said he was able to start the Tesla and move it out of the tree’s penumbra before calling a tow truck. The damage is being assessed.
“I don’t yet know whether it’s salvageable, but I’m hopeful as the engine was not touched as far as I can tell,” Glaser said.
In the end, he said, it’s “a story of random bad luck, a true Northwest good Samaritan, and scientific method.”