Ice cream truck driver pinned by tree: ‘Thank God I’m alive’

A tree fell on an ice cream truck on Springmont Avenue in Kalamazoo. (Oct. 7, 2017)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The two Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers who responded after a large tree fell on an ice cream truck said they couldn’t believe the driver walked away with only a few scrapes.

Sgt. David Moran and Officer Alex Wright were called to Springmont Avenue near Barnard Avenue late Saturday afternoon after it happened.

“When I first got there, I see the cables down. There was people all over the place. The truck was basically bent in half,” Moran said.

“At first I thought, ‘Well, at least it’s not across where the driver would be.’ Only to find out as soon as I got up to the van that he was actually in the back, serving the two little girls,” Wright said.

The ice cream truck driver, Max Kebschell, was stuck inside the back of the truck.

A tree fell on an ice cream truck on Springmont Avenue in Kalamazoo. (Oct. 7, 2017)

“He was still down between the two seats, the driver and the passenger seats, and he said the roof had pushed him down in between there,” Wright said.

The doors were smashed closed.

“One of the passenger windows was open, so we were able to get a hold of him and assist him out of the passenger window,” Moran said.

Kebschell sustained only a few scratches.

“He literally just said he was thankful to be alive and he just kept saying that God was watching after him today,” Wright said.

Kebschell echoed that sentiment when 24 Hour News 8 spoke with him Monday. He said he had one thought: “Thank God I’m alive.”

Kebschell said it all happened in the blink of an eye. He was almost done with his shift when the wind picked up and he heard a loud crack. He said he yelled at the two girls who just bought ice cream from him to run.

“Had (Kebschell) not told her to run when he did, it would have had a totally different outcome,” said Jennifer Parson, the mother of one of the girls.

She was at home a few houses down when she heard the tree fall. At first, she thought it was a car crash.

“I screamed (my daughter’s) name and ran outside. Her and her friend … were running to me, screaming,” Parson recalled. “My heart skipped. I was terrified.”

Her daughter was hit on the head by a falling branch and her daughter’s friend had a minor burn on her neck from a fallen power line.

“After it happened, she was shaking so hard I had to physically hold her,” Parson said of her daughter.

She credits Kebschell with saving her daughter’s life and said she owes him.

“I was just looking out for the kids, that’s all,” Kebschell said.

To show her gratitude, Parson started a GoFundMe page to help Kebschell cover damage expenses.