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Hilo, Hawaii News, Sports, & Information Sunday, May 29, 2016

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Posted: Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 10:21 AM HST

Close call with albizia tree

By 67AM KPUA News

A Kapoho farmer is counting his blessings after a close call with a falling branch from a towering albizia tree that wrecked his car on Friday.

Daniel Kelly, who drives through the scenic tunnel just outside of Pahoa twice a day, said the impact smashed the hood of the car and left a chunk of the engine on the road. Kelly walked away shaken and sore, but otherwise uninjured.

Countless fast-growing albizia trees line Highway 132 near Lava Tree State Monument. They've also taken root across the island. The invasive species can reach heights of more than 100 feet. A county spokesperson said that a highway crew will inspect the area and take appropriate action.

According to experts, bringing the problem under control will require millions of dollars. A push to secure funding failed during the last legislative session. The immediate priority is to remove trees near homes, highways and hospitals. (Content for this story was provided by Hawai`i News Now).

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