Driver of vehicle crushed by palm tree arrested, passenger hospitalized

BPD Palm Tree Down 4400 Blk Olive @ Hood (? Ross A Benson)
Burbank police on Friday night investigate a traffic accident in the 4400 block of Olive Avenue where a large palm tree fell on a car, trapping the driver and passenger. A gun and narcotics were found in the vehicle, and its driver, who is on parole, was placed under arrest.
(Ross A. Benson)

A palm tree falling onto a moving vehicle just outside the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank Friday night led to injuries and an arrest.

At about 9:20 p.m., Burbank police and fire officials responded to the 4400 block of West Olive Avenue near Lakeside Drive after receiving reports of a traffic collision involving a downed palm tree.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found a black Mercedes-Benz convertible with a large palm tree laying across the top of the vehicle. There was also a second vehicle, a blue Chevrolet sedan, that had crashed into the downed tree.

Burbank police officers arrested the driver of the Mercedes, Jonathan Ortiz, 29, of North Hollywood, on suspicion of possession of a handgun and narcotics while on parole. The gun and drugs were found during a search of his car.


Green said both vehicles were moving when the tree fell over into the roadway, and that it had been raining that night.

Ortiz and a female passenger were both injured when the tree fell on top of the car.

Both were taken to a local hospital to be treated for their injuries. However, the woman, who has not been named, remains at the hospital. Ortiz was arrested after being treated for his injuries.

The occupants of the Chevy were not seriously injured, Green said.


Ortiz was transported to Burbank City Jail and is being held without bail by the California Department of Corrections, said Burbank Police Sgt. Derek Green in a statement.

Twitter: @acocarpio