12 ON YOUR SIDE: Tree limbs from truck causes accident, witness - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

12 ON YOUR SIDE: Tree limbs from truck causes accident, witness steps forward

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MECHANICSVILLE, VA (WWBT) -

A witness is talking about what he saw the day a large tree limb smashed another driver's windshield.

David Dalton narrowly escaped being impaled on a tree limb behind the wheel of his car while driving on I-295. He believes it flew off a truck but had no witnesses. 12 On Your Side made an appeal - and eye witness Matt McQuillan stepped forward.

McQuillan says he stopped the truck driver, called 911, and gave State Police everything they needed to investigate, minutes after the tree limb pierced Dalton's windshield. He's upset it took our 12 On Your Side Report for State Police to initiate an investigation.

"I didn't see the limb actually come out of the truck," said McQuillan. "I saw the limb in the air coming towards our cars. That branch hit the front driver side of his car."

McQuillan says State Police didn't come out to talk with him on the side of the road when he called 911, a week ago, as the accident unfolded. He believes the accident victim, his family and their damaged car could have and should have gotten State Police help sooner.

"I felt like they had the information they needed to take care of the situation," said McQuillan. "It was upsetting to see this on the news. The system failed them really. It definitely failed them."

I reached out to Virginia State Police several times by phone and emailed a FOIA request for emergency calls from that day, stating concerns about how those calls were handled. I was told those 911 tapes are being pulled and State Police would get back to me.

"(Is there any doubt in your mind that the branch came off the truck that you stopped?) No. I didn't see it come off the truck, but when I pulled the guy over, there were other branches - that when I told him what happened, he threw off the side of the truck - that were two or three feet long," said McQuillan.

McQuillan says I-295 was a sea of brake lights August 13, everybody slowing down for leaves and debris. He says he gave 911 the license plate number after he flagged down the truck driver.

"I told him, 'Hey man, your truck is spewing stuff all over the place.' He was like, 'Really?' and I told him there's a car back there that's got a branch in it," said McQuillan. "He definitely was remorseful. He was hoping this guy wasn't hurt. He did mention there were other trucks coming down the same sight."

Matt says he thought State Police would have connected the dots based on his 911 call, the truck driver's call and the victim's wife's call.

"I would hope that the license plate is recorded somewhere. I asked them to do it. I flat out said the truck is leaving," said McQuillan.

McQuillan says it's an accident he can't forget.

"When I saw him, it was a shock, because he was leaning to the side, and where the branch was, I didn't know if it was in his leg or what," said McQuillan.

McQuillan says Virginia State Police took a report from him the day after we aired the story. The accident victim's wife says a state trooper also came out to their home the next day, interviewed them, and took pictures of the car.

I will let you know what we find, when we get those 911 tapes.

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