‘It was a miracle.’ Brookfield family thankful to be OK after tree falls on SUV

It happened on Obtuse Road South at the bottom of the Del Salto family’s driveway.

Marissa Alter

Apr 5, 2024, 10:45 PM

Updated 42 days ago

Share:

A Brookfield family is counting their blessings after a tree fell on their SUV —with their three young kids inside—and pinned the mom to the ground during Wednesday’s nor’easter.
“It was a miracle. People were definitely looking down on us, and I'm just so happy that everyone's OK,” Shana Del Salto told News 12. “I have some minor issues with my shoulder, a bunch of bruising. The tree pretty much got my left whole side. Nothing's broken, but I’m sore.”
It happened on Obtuse Road South at the bottom of the Del Salto family’s driveway, which is where the school bus drops off their two oldest kids, 6-year-old Riley and 4-year-old Ryder. The family's house is on a hill, so every weekday afternoon, Shana Del Salto drives down with her youngest, 3-year-old River, and waits for the bus.
That’s what she was doing just before 4 p.m. Wednesday when the storm picked up. She even sent her husband a video from inside the SUV showing the vehicle shaking because of the high winds.
“The children got here at 4:05 p.m. As I'm putting them both in the car, before I can close the last door, I just heard a loud cracking,” Shana Del Salto recalled. “It was so loud. I didn't know where it was coming from, so my first instinct was just to slam the door, get my kids safe.” Before she knew what was happening, part of a pine tree crashed onto the SUV and pinned her to the ground. “I heard the kids screaming. It was really traumatic,” Shana Del Salto said.
She explained how people driving by stopped, helped her out from under the tree and called 911.
“I got all my kids safely out of the car, which was hard, and EMS was here within minutes,” said Shana Del Salto.
Then, with the heavy rain and wind still going, she Facetimed her husband at work. “All I saw was her crying, and I see the car with a huge tree on it,” Jonathan Del Salto told News 12. “And I started to panic because I said, ‘Is everything OK? Is everyone alive?’ and I couldn't hear her.” Jonathan Del Salto rushed home, scared about what he’d find.
“You just start thinking the worst possible scenarios,” he recalled. “And just praying really and saying, ‘Please, God, make sure they're ok,’ you know?”
The road by their home was blocked off, making it harder for Jonathan Del Salto to get to his family. Once he did, he learned one of their kids had cuts on his hands from broken glass, but the other two escaped without a scratch. His wife was later given a sling, but her injuries were minor compared to what could’ve happened.
“We’re lucky,” Jonathan Del Salto stated.
The Brookfield community has had its share of similar incidents where the outcome wasn’t as fortunate.
“We’ve had several calls like that over the last couple decades here in town that didn't have that kind of ending, that resulted in serious injuries and or fatalities,” said Chief Andrew Ellis, of the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company.
Ellis said first responders breathed a “sigh of relief” when the call was over.
“They were inches away from really having a tragedy happen,” he told News 12.
Ellis explained that firefighters used chainsaws to remove the tree and clear the driveway. But that’s not all they did. “They'd just been to Costco and gone grocery shopping, so we took all their groceries up the hill to their house because they were going to spoil,” Ellis said. “That's just the kind of people that we have here to do that kind of stuff.”
“I really appreciate the EMS, the fire department and the police that came so quickly,” Shana Del Salto said, noting they went above and beyond with the groceries. She also said the first responders were great with her kids, turning around a scary situation for them. “It was really sweet, and my kids had a lot of fun in the EMS truck.”
The Del Saltos are also grateful for the vehicle that protected their kids during the incident—a Dodge Durango, that is now totaled. The family was renting it while their Jeep Wrangler, which has a soft top, is in the shop.
“When you look at the pictures, you can see one of the tree branches, piercing and denting the Durango,” Jonathan Del Salto said. “Thank God, it was all metal. Thank God, it was strong.”
The family told News 12 that Eversource comes and often trims the pine trees on their property for the power lines, but there’s never been an issue with any falling down.
“Now we’re considering cutting them down,” Jonathan Del Salto stated.
“This is our bus stop. We don't want this happening again, so hopefully we can get the trees down and make it safer,” said Shana Del Salto.


More from News 12