SAUSALITO (CBS SF) – Two drivers narrowly escaped injury when a large eucalyptus tree fell from a hillside and landed across three lanes of southbound U.S. Highway 101 near Sausalito Thursday morning, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The tree fell on the west side of the highway south of Spencer Avenue about 7:20 a.m., hitting an electronic message sign then striking a black Honda Fit in the slow lane, CHP Officer Andrew Barclay said.

The Honda, driven by Anthony Contini, 70, of Mill Valley, spun out of control and stopped facing north on the right-hand shoulder, Barclay said.

The tree also struck a gold Toyota Camry in the No. 2 lane—the second lane from the left—and landed across the No. 2, 3,and 4 lanes, Barclay said.

The Toyota’s driver, Ellyn McCaffrey, 47, of San Anselmo, got out of her car and went to the right shoulder where it was safe, and Contini remained in his Honda, Barclay said. Neither driver was injured or taken to a hospital.

The Honda sustained major damage, and the tree shattered the Toyota’s windshield and damaged its right side, according to Barclay.

The CHP, the Southern Marin Fire Protection District and a Golden Gate Bridge patrol unit responded to the incident.

A tow truck dragged the tree out of the lanes, and Southern Marin fire personnel cut it into smaller pieces with a chainsaw on the right shoulder, Barclay said.

Three lanes of the highway were blocked after the tree fell, causing traffic to back up more than 6 miles to Paradise Drive in Corte Madera, Barclay said.

Caltrans was notified of the incident and will be responsible for inspecting the hillside, Barclay said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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