Tree Falls on Minivan with Three Young Children Inside

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CARMICHAEL --

Forty-eight hours after the scariest moments of their young lives, Jamila and Yanis Maandi can give calm descriptions of what they went through in the middle of an intense storm in Carmichael.

"A tree fell out on our car the other day ... and we were scared," said four-year-old Jamila.

"I was upset," offered six-year-old Yanis, as he peeked out from around his mom's shoulder.

During the chaos, the kids were much less put together.

"They were scared to death. They were crying,especially this one," said mom Kahina Tahanout, pointing at Yanis.

"He get a big shock," she said.

Tahanout could barely contain her own shock at what came down around her moments after buckling in her kids to leave their apartment at Crestview North and head to school.

"We get shaked. I felt like the car was going up and down," she said.

"I felt like we are gonna die."

And while her littlest baby is sleeping much more soundly than big brother and sister have been since the incident, she may have been in the most peril during the incident given where the tree landed.

"I was scared when I saw that about my little baby of four months. Her spot is behind her mother. See that ... imagine if it falls down on her, " said Tahanout's husband Abdenour Maandi, as he laid hands on the crumpled part of his van, right above where his daughter's car seat was.

Luckily the falling tree didn't flatten the passenger compartment of their Grand Caravan, but it did crush part of the roof and jammed one of the doors closed.

This family understands a falling tree can be "an act of God" but believes the tree may have been dead, and that it and others were not being inspected regularly.

"It's's the same thing. It's laying down like that," said Maandi, slanting his arm the way another tree lining an internal street in his complex leans sideways.

"You never know ... maybe one day it will fall down too," he said.

Aside from the health of the tree, which may be in question, the family says their complex was actually doing work around this tree in the last few weeks.

"Three weeks ago ago maybe ... they were digging under those trees. I don't know what they were fixing, but it was just under this tree and the others," said Tahanout.

It's a situation that leaves this family with questions about whether an act of God, or some other kind of action put them in danger.

Managers of Crestview North say their grounds are maintained regularly, and they don't believe the complex is responsible for making any repairs to the damaged van.

Tahanout and Maandi only have liability insurance and say there's no way they can afford the $10,000 it would take to fix their Dodge.