Henry County

‘God help me:’ Henry County man survives tree crushing truck with him inside

LOCUST GROVE, Ga. — A Henry County man believes that he narrowly escaped death on Thursday after a tree crushed his truck while he was inside.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes spoke with Richard Byars after he was released from the hospital Friday.

Trees fell and power lines went down across much of metro Atlanta on Thursday as severe storms and tornadoes made their way through the area.

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Byars says one of those fallen trees nearly claimed his life in front of his home on Seminole Lane in Locust Grove.

“I just pulled up to get my wife, get her out of here. [It] just came all of the sudden, stuff started blowing. They said the tornado was on the other side of the interstate. I figured I had a little bit of time because it was four miles south,” Byars explained.

He says that as he sat in the truck, a huge tree came down on top of him.

“The tree and steering wheel was on my leg, so, I mean, it more or less crushed my leg,” Byars said. “The only that’s broke is my hand and rib.”


Byars had to sit in the truck pinned to the driver’s seat until first responders could get to him and rescue him with the jaws of life.

“I leaned over to move a bag, and when I did, everything just come down. All I could do was start praying, ‘God help me,’” he said.

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In order to get his father rescued, Byars’ son had to help firefighters even get to him because of other trees that had fallen.

“I was stuck up at the top and one of the firefighters just knocked on my window and asked could they throw their bunch of gear in the back of my truck and they’ll clear the path for me to come down here, and so they jumped in the back of my truck and I drove down as they cut trees out of the road,” Joey Huggins said.

Although a lot of the damage in the area has been cleared, officials tell Fernandes there are at least six roads still closed because of debris in Henry County.