Falling tree at Pickwick Park fatally injures woman


A woman was fatally injured when a tree fell on a vehicle at Pickwick Landing State Park during a severe thunderstorm Wednesday night, Hardin County Fire Chief Melvin Martin said today.

The name of the victim is not yet available, but the Ford Expedition in which she was seated has a Shelby County license tag.

The severe pop-up thunderstorm struck the park around 8:30 p.m. as thousands gathered to watch the annual Fourth of July fireworks display staged by Hardin County Tourism.

A woman was fatally injured when a tree fell on this Ford Expedition near the Inn at Pickwick Landing State Park.

People packed the park and the Pickwick Dam levee.

“There was no warning on the first storm. It just came up quick,” Martin said. “The vendor tents – it just demolished them.”

Several other large trees in the park vicinity were toppled by the high winds, and one person was struck by a limb, but did not require medical transport. A windshield on one vehicle was shattered, he said.

“The lightning, it was just everywhere,” he said.

Savannah resident Andrea Fore was parked on the Pickwick Dam levee in a Dodge 2500 diesel pickup with the windows up with her sons Claude, Caden and Connor when the storm hit.

“Seconds later debris started going everywhere. You couldn’t even see the boats on the lake anymore,” she said. “That’s when it lifted the truck up on one side.”

Fore said the family fled the storm and stopped at The Outpost restaurant where they discovered the rear hatch on the truck’s topper was twisted and the glass broken.

The fireworks show went on as planned following the storm, Martin said, but “I don’t know if anybody was watching.”

A weaker thunderstorm moved through the park vicinity as motorists made their way home, with traffic clearing out about 10:30 p.m., he said.

Elsewhere in Hardin County there were some trees downed in the Morris Chapel area and some short power outages.