Hillsborough County

Man dies after crashing into hanging tree limb in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Richard Montgomery called 911 to report a tree branch had fallen into power lines outside of his house just before 4 a.m. Thursday.

"A tree fell across the power lines here on Orient road," said Montgomery.

Before deputies could arrive to block the road, William Van Tassel, 36, of New Port Richey, drove into the downed branch and died at the scene.

Across the street, Fatima Bandanni heard the crash.

"It was really a bad accident. The car is done. The branch was squeezing that car and it was exactly on top of the drivers seat," said Bandanni.

Chris Montgomery said his father was trying to do the right thing by calling 911.

"My heart went out to the family. This man lost his life. Our condolences, our condolences is to his family," said Montgomery.

Bandanni said there was no way to know before the accident the tree branch was rotten on the inside.

"That branch wasn't rotten, nothing wrong with it. When I saw it this morning, it was rotten, but it wasn't falling down before," said Bandanni.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office confirmed Montgomery's 911 call ended with the sound of the car crash.

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