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Crash Off Garden Highway Reignites Tree Debate Among Neighbors And Army Corps Of Engineers

NATOMAS (CBS13) — Terry Daffin was sitting quietly in his home office on La Lima Way on Monday when he heard a loud crash outside of his home.

"I heard it and I knew what it was. A car had come down this levee," Daffin said.

He then sprinted into action.

"I was basically first on the scene. I just ran over, tried to see if I could help people, get passengers out," Daffin said.

"I see a car in the middle of the center lane and then I just see (the driver) flying off of the road," Edward Lankin, an eyewitness to the crash, said.

Daffin was able to get the passenger out of the car but not the driver, who he said was later pulled out by first responders.

Sacramento Police said that both the driver and passenger in the crash were taken to a local hospital and, at last word, were in critical condition.

This is a scene that's all too familiar to Daffin and his neighbors. Cars speeding down Garden Highway, flying off the levee and hitting the trees below on La Lima Way.

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"I've lived here since 1993. And there have been multiple times when vehicles have run off the road and the trees have protected the people in the vehicles as well as the homeowners," Dawn Grinstain, a neighbor, said.

And homeowners hope these green guardians stay rooted here.

The Army Corps of Engineers plans to work on a flood prevention plan for this levee near La Lima Way and other sections in Natomas. The plan does include the removal or trimming of trees for construction equipment to be able to do the work for the flood prevention plan.

A spokesperson for the Corps of Engineers told CBS13 they don't want to remove the trees, but it will have to for the flood prevention work.

The spokesperson added that the City of Sacramento or Sacramento County would have to address how future traffic safety concerns of the roadway because the Corps of Engineers doesn't oversee the roads and safety of them.

Some are pleading this natural barrier isn't uprooted so the danger doesn't inch too close to home.

"You always expect something worse than it is. This is pretty bad," Daffin said. "But, this car could've ended up in somebody's yard or even worse in somebody's living room."

The spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers said the plan is to start removing the trees in November. He added that there have been mailers sent to neighbors along the levee regarding the scope of the plan and what it entails.

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