Teen killed after tree falls onto car in Orange County, FHP says

It remains unclear if weather played a factor in the death of a teenager who was killed when a tree toppled onto a vehicle in which she was a passenger. 

The tragic incident occurred on Reams Rd., south of Summerlake Blvd., as inclement weather was moving through the area. 

Troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reported that the tree fell onto the roof of a Lexus, which was traveling southbound on Reams Rd. around 6:49 p.m. The right rear passenger, a 14-year-old girl, was transported to Horizon West Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The driver, a 40-year-old woman, and a 12-year-old boy in the front passenger seat were not injured.

"This case is still a very active investigation," said FHP spokesperson Lieutenant Tara Crescenzi. "Additionally, the medical examiner’s office would need to confirm if the fatality was related to the weather conditions."

There is a fire station right by where the tree fell on the car — medical help was just moments away. However, it still didn’t make a difference in this case. Orange County Fire Rescue declined to interview but said this was a tough call for them.

RELATED: Severe weather brings damage to parts of metro Orlando

Severe weather moved across the Orlando metropolitan area shortly before 7 p.m. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning early Thursday evening due to a funnel cloud hovering over Orange County. 

Straight-line winds caused significant damage across the Orlando metropolitan area, including in Casselberry, where parts of a 7-Eleven gas station were toppled. According to Seminole County fire officials, people inside a car were uninjured when the structure came crashing down on them.

Trees toppled near U.S. Highway 17-92 in Maitland, and large hail was reported in St. Cloud.

Orlando International Airport (MCO) recorded a wind gust of 58 mph, and Winter Park saw the most significant rainfall, with 6.8 inches. Lightning was also prevalent, with over 4,500 strikes recorded, according to FOX 35 Storm Team Meteorologist Noah Bergren.

Windermere was also hard hit by the inclement weather. Osmond Ebanks lives right by where the crash happened.

"It just got still for a little bit, and the last lightning strike was major and knocked everything out," Ebanks recalled. "And that’s when I heard the sirens."

He said he walked outside Thursday to see the Lexus with its side smashed in and a tree lying on top of it.

"It was pummeled, and I was thinking, ‘Something bad happened just now.’" 

The FHP said the family is from Orlando, but their identities were not immediately released.

"It’s very sad. All around, it’s very sad," Ebanks said. "I do hope some solace can come of this." 

You have a dead tree somewhere or where you know it’s going to cause damage. Take it down!"

The FHP said it was still investigating the crash as of Friday.