A Springfield Township man killed by a storm-felled tree Thursday was a father of two and a Springfield High School graduate who recently lost a job, those who knew him said.
Christopher Zimmerman, 35, was rolling up the windows in his newly purchased Ford Expedition sport utility vehicle as a rapidly moving storm approached the area shortly after 3 p.m.
He was killed when a huge tree fell on the driver-side roof of the vehicle, said Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett, a Lucas County deputy coroner.
"The roof of the cab came crashing down under the tree, breaking his neck," said Dr. Barnett, who did the autopsy.
Mr. Zimmerman was pronounced dead at 3:59 p.m. outside a house in the 600 block of South Dorcas Road where he lived with his father, Dr. Barnett said.
The death was ruled accidental; the cause of death was a fractured neck, she said. Dave Zimmerman, the victim's father, wasn't home at the time.
Christopher Zimmerman leaves behind two children, Tawny, 4, and Seth, 7.
"My best friend for life. … it's a tragic loss," said Kenny Keeler, who said he went to high school with Mr. Zimmerman.
He and two neighbors were outside the victim's house Friday morning, cutting the tree and removing it piece by piece from the property.
Wendy Kibbee, one of the neighbors who was working to remove the tree, said, "It is very tragic.
"We are just doing what we can to help him," she said, turning toward the victim's father, who was standing by.
Fighting back tears, the elder Mr. Zimmerman refused to comment, saying he needed time by himself.
The younger Mr. Zimmerman graduated from Springfield High School in 1995 and most recently worked for an area packaging company.
He had just been laid off, Mr. Keeler said.
Mr. Zimmerman enjoyed hunting and fishing, Mr. Keeler said. On his Facebook page, Christopher Zimmerman lists Johnny Cash and Adele as his music favorites and scale off-road trucks as his favorite game.
In the 500 block of Dorcas Street, near the scene of the fatality, Brian Lowe was standing in front of his house, which was partially crushed by a felled tree.
Inside, a large hole in his roof revealed blue skies.
"I give thanks to God in all things. And I am thankful He spared me and my family in this tragic event," said Mr. Lowe, 44, who was waiting for his children to come over when the storm struck.
He said he was on the phone in his house near an outside door — just a couple of feet into the hallway — talking to someone from the telephone company when he heard what sounded like two loud crashes.
"After the second crash, I instinctively fell to the floor and was hit in the head by pieces of drywall," he said. "Then there were boards all around me. I still had the phone and I cried out, ‘Madam, please call 911. My house was just hit by a tree.' Then I dropped my phone and crawled out [of the house]."
Mr. Lowe did not seek medical help.
His dog, a 13-year-old Labrador/chow mix named Max, also escaped unharmed. The dog was hiding from the storm in its usual spot under the concrete steps of the porch, Mr. Lowe said.
Contact Mike Sigov at: email@example.com or 419-724-6089.