Diana Allen says she was riding with her husband down a stretch of Markham on the way to a hotel when their home lost power Christmas night.
"We thought, avoid the highway, other drivers. Our car does fine in the snow and ice," says Allen.
The two were making their way, slowly through the snow, while Allen and her mother discussed the weather over the phone.
"She said,I'm at Aunt Patty's and you won't believe this, two trees just fell," Allen says.
A 911 tape relays what happened next.
Caller: "A tree in our yard fell and it fell on a car and it happened to be passing down our street."
Still on the phone with her daughter when a tree crashed into their SUV, Anita Spence says she listened to the rescue unfold for over 50 minutes.
"All of a sudden, I can hear all this noise and then I can hear Matthew screaming," says Spence.
Matthew Allen to 911 : "My wife cannot breathe! Diana don't die, don' t die you're going to be OK."
A huge oak tree crushed their vehicle. A branch pierced Allen through her side, while the impact knocked her out.
"I fell to my knees and started praying. I felt I didn't have any life in my body," Spence says.
When Allen came to, her husband and a neighbor were holding her hand as rescue crews worked her loose.
"They were like, a tree limb went through you," Allen recalls.
That night, doctors told her the branch was an inch from her major organs. Weeks later, home recovering from surgery, it's on her mantle, a souvenir of survival.
"We're lucky and we're still here and were still alive," she says.
Allen says the branch injured two of her lower vertebrae but she is expected to make a full recovery. Her family hopes their story encourages others to stay inside when the roads get slick.