You never know when a landscape professional will come in handy. Some stuck commuters on U.S. Highway 101, a major southern California thoroughfare, have one of them to thank, according to a story by KEYT-TV (Santa Barbara).
One recent weekday night, around 6:40 p.m., a large tree fell into the southbound lane of route 101 between Gaviota and Goleta near Santa Barbara. There was no way to get around this giant obstacle.
Not content to wait for emergency services personnel to arrive, some of the stranded drivers started getting out of their cars. A video shows about a dozen people working together to break apart the tree’s branches and move them to the road’s shoulder.
After a few minutes, all that remained was the main trunk of the tree. Just then, the group heard the welcome sound of a chain saw revving up, as if to say, “Here I come to save the day!” The man wielding it, Ricardo Esparza, a landscape contractor based in Oxnard, began cutting the trunk into sections, while the rest of the group moved the chunks to the side of the road.
"Everyone hears Ricardo start up that chainsaw from between the traffic and everyone started cheering," Gama Loza told the reporter in a text. Loza was one of the drivers inconvenienced by the fallen tree and is also the recorder of the video footage.
Before any law enforcement or Caltrans crews could get there, Esparza and the other DIY commuters had already taken care of business. Loza said to the reporter that everyone that helped, particularly Esparza, deserves credit for working together to clear the road.
The record shows how quickly they got it done, thanks to the contractor. The California Highway Patrol’s online traffic log shows that about 25 minutes after the initial call came in, traffic began flowing again in one of the southbound lanes.