DOBBINS (CBS13) – A woman who was critically injured by falling tree has a long recovery ahead. Her family says she would’ve died if the older car she was in hadn’t absorbed some of the force of the impact.

The incident happened on November 21 in the town of Dobbins. The tree fell on Terrie Hunter’s car, killing her friend who was sitting in the passenger seat and causing severe injuries to Terrie’s abdominal area.

We spoke to Terrie’s family who says she’s lucky to be alive.

“It was just shocking,” said one of Terrie’s daughters.

Terrie suffered broken ribs, a punctured spleen and a collapsed lung. Terrie’s family knows how close she came to being crushed by the 100-foot pine.

“Finding out your mom is almost dying is horrifying,” said Valerie Hunter, one of Terrie’s daughters.

The tree toppled onto her car during last week’s storm, instantly killing her best friend, Sherri Pesich, 52, of Yuba County, who was in passenger’s seat.

“The top blew out of it. It had been standing dead for a while and it just picked a bad time to fall,” said Vance Hunter, Terrie’s husband.

Terrie and her Sherri were in Dobbins delivering food for the food bank – something Terrie has done for years, but she usually takes her three daughters with her. Last Thursday was the first time she brought her friend.

“We help carry boxes for the people who can’t carry it themselves. We help run the boxes to their cars,” said Valerie.

The family says Terrie’s dream car, a 1973 Plymouth Duster, is now a total loss.

“It was her favorite kind of car; favorite color,” said Valerie.

But the family is convinced the old car was the only reason Terrie made it out alive.

“It’s made with really strong metal. They don’t make them like that anymore,” said Valerie. “If it had been a newer car, the tree would have flattened it. If it had been any other kind of car there wouldn’t have been any survivors.”

Terrie’s family expects her to wake up in a couple of days. Doctors say she could make a full recovery.

Terrie is described by her family as an optimist. They say her positive attitude will get her through this ordeal.

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