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Windstorm Downs Trees, Kills Idaho Falls Man

A Saturday night windstorm that swept through the Idaho Falls area left debris in the roads, trees uprooted, and an elderly man dead.

The buzz of chainsaws replaced church chatter for Richard Jimenez on Sunday morning.

“I raised the blinds in the dining room,” said Jimenez. “I (saw) a tree laying over on the house.”

Jimenez said he heard the wind blowing from inside his East Lincoln Road home around 1 a.m., but didn’t expect to find two of his neighbors trees toppled over onto his roof.

“To get the trees out will be a few thousand (dollars),” said Jimenez. “The first tree fell and took out the second tree also.”

A similar story across town, however, ended in tragedy when huge trees fell and crashed through a house on Pioneer Road. It trapped and killed 82-year-old Louis Carney in his bedroom.

Family members said Carney’s wife of more than 50 years, Lu Juanna, had gotten up to use the restroom, which saved her life.

They said the father of eight and grandfather of 30 spent his entire life in the 100-year-old home surrounded by century old trees, and was a stubborn but big-hearted man who influenced many lives.

Neighbors said he walked miles each day, with his oxygen tank right behind him.

With a growing to do list, but help from church members, Jimenez worked to remove the tree, branch by branch, and hoped to have his electricity back as soon as possible.

“I had no idea that wind was that strong,” said Jimenez.

According to the National Weather Service, the strongest winds on Saturday night were 46 mph gusts at the Idaho Falls Regional airport at 11:50 p.m.

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