Trapped NC teen driver escapes out minivan’s hatch after tree smashes van during weekend storm

North Carolina news

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A tree fell during a storm in northwest Guilford County over the weekend and destroyed a new driver’s minivan.

Jonathan Gatewood, 16, was headed home from work on Old Oak Ridge Road near Oak Ben Trail in Greensboro when the tree fell Saturday night.

His father, Larry Gatewood, said his son got his license around six months ago.

“We believe he’s very lucky,” Larry said. “The fact that the top of the tree hit it and not the trunk of the tree is a lifesaver.”

Emergency crews responded to the scene around 9 p.m. and found the smashed vehicle.

Jonathan escaped out of the back hatch. 

“It hit…the metal of the roofline versus coming down on the windshield at a lower level coming in…he had a sweatshirt on to capture all that glass,” Larry said. 

Glass pieces cut his hands, but the teenager is OK.

“You could tell he was in shock even at home taking glass off of him,” Larry said. “He’s just very still…and shaking for a long period of time.”

Jonathan was the only one in the minivan, which is now considered a total loss.

His parents say he’s resting, and they’re hopeful he can be back on the road soon.

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