Woman lucky to be alive after tree harpoons her car

Woman lucky to be alive after tree harpoons her car

Woman lucky to be alive after tree harpoons her car

Kaitlin Hagadone is counting her lucky stars.

On July 1, the Columbia Falls woman was driving home alone from work on Half Moon Road when lightning struck a large larch tree along the road.

“I saw the lightning strike the tree and I saw it explode,” she said. Instinctively, he swerved his 2006 Saturn Ion into the other lane.

It was the margin needed to save his life.

A 12-foot piece of the tree went through the front windshield, harpooned the passenger seat, entered the backseat between her children’s car seats and two feet into the trunk.

Fortunately, no cars were coming in the opposite direction or they would have had a head-on collision.

“I felt the car shake and spin,” she said.

She turned her head away from the broken window. The car is a standard transmission and the tree missed her shifting hand. She walked away unscathed, but definitely shaken.

Passersby stopped to see if he was okay.

Hagadone is a heavy equipment operator at FH Stoltze Land and Lumber. When he left work, he said he saw lightning here and there, but nothing extraordinary.

She said she was thankful none of her family was in the car. She has two small children and the tree went between the car seats. Her husband, Ty Cowan, usually drives and if he was driving and she was in the passenger seat… well, it’s not something anyone wants to think about.

The car is wrecked, but after she fills out an accident report with the Montana Highway Patrol at the scene, they let her drive it home.

It’s a shame, she noted. He really liked the little car. It ran well and was reliable. He now drives the family’s diesel truck until he can find something else.