UPPER NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A man was killed in a tragic accident in Rockland County on Thursday morning. A tree fell on top of his car.

As CBS2’s Erin Logan reported, the 80-year-old’s car was crushed as he was driving it.

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Police said Jerome Muhlenberg of Upper Nyack was driving on North Broadway at 7:30 a.m. Jock DeCamp was right behind him.

“I saw it happen, I dialed 911,” he said, “The tree went down very slowly. I was hoping the car would make it through, not around the car, just upon the poles, but it didn’t. You could not go near the tree because the lines were exploding, and there was fire, not around the car, just up on the poles.”

Given the timing, and location — directly in front of an elementary school — the situation could’ve been even worse.

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“There were a few walkers at the school already safely. It was fortunately before all of the traffic of buses coming,” Captain Anthony Ovchinnikoff, Clarkstown Police, said.

The tree belongs to Nyack Public Schools. A spokesperson for the district said this is truly a tragedy. The tree was inspected days ago by arborists, on May 10, and there were no signs of decay.

“It was just one of those things, ya know., There’s nothing, I guess the hope is he didn’t know what hit him,” DeCamp said.

People living in the immediate area drive by the tree several times a day, the tragedy has many saying that life is precious.

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The elementary school students were bused to the high school for the day while authorities were on scene.