HARVARD -- He didn't hear it happen, so Justin Miller was shocked to find that his ride for the night, his mother's 2002 Dodge Caravan, had been smashed by a massive pine tree.
It happened in the parking lot of the Harvard General Store on Still River Road on May 29. Miller manages the store, and that night, after the store closed, he was getting some work done when a severe thunderstorm band moved through the area.
Miller said he didn't hear the crash. "No, that's the amazaing thing," said Miller. "I was in the office right there, then all of a sudden I heard the wind kick up and heard glass shatter. I went up to the third floor along the back of the building and saw that a couple of panes of glass had smashed. There must have been a burst of wind.
"But the tree got completely uprooted," said Miller. "There wasn't a snap at all."
Miller was alerted to the event by his father.
"I couldn't believe it. I heard about it hitting that car when my dad, who is an EMT, heard it on his scanner," said Miller. Miller said his father, Larry Miller, was monitoring the scanner during the storm and heard the report of a tree atop a car downtown. "He called me and said, 'Hey, who would be at the general store at this hour?' And I said, 'I'm at the store.' That's when I discovered it."
The Harvard DPW was dispatched overnight to cut the tree into pieces and remove it from the car and the parking lot before dawn broke because "We didn't want it to be
Miller said he's still got his car.
Miller said his mother, Harvard School Committee member Kirsten Wright, didn't care about the van, but was more focused on her son's wellbeing. "She was glad I was OK. It came down on the driver's side. Good thing I didn't suddenly decide I was going to leave."
Miller said the van had clocked some 180,000 miles and was likely totaled by the tree strike.
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