• Man in tent crushed to death by tree as storm moves through Ocala


    OCALA, Fla. - A 56-year-old man asleep in a tent behind a gas station on Lake Weir Avenue in Ocala was killed early Friday when a tree fell on him during Hurricane Hermine.

    The man, John Mayes, was one of three homeless people sleeping in tents behind the station when the storm hit.

    A woman asleep in a tent next to the man told Channel 9 that while the storm was raging she heard a huge crash.

    She called out to Mayes, who did not respond, the woman said.

    "I saw the tree and it fell right on his tent," she said. "I kept yelling every 15 minutes, 'John, are you OK?'"

    When the woman and the other individual at the campsite were able to safely leave their tents, they could not get to Mayes and called 911.

    Raw: Woman talks to WFTV about friend killed by tree that fell on tent


    Marion County deputies responded to the camp, which was located behind the gas station in the 3300 block of Lake Weir Avenue.

    Emergency workers from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Ocala Fire Rescue and the Ocala Police Department immediately started clearing debris from atop Mayes’ tent.

    When they found him, Mayes was already dead, officials said.

    Meanwhile, another tree was knocked over in Ocala and fell into a home about three miles from Mayes' campsite, deputies said. 

    No one was injured in that incident, they said.



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