Well-loved 79-year-old attorney killed by fallen tree in Walnut Creek

A son and daughter are in shock one day after their father was killed in the powerful storm that ripped through the Bay Area on Tuesday, taking a tree down and crushing the car he was riding in. 

"All I heard on the phone end was her screaming…something that sounded like, ‘Your dad is dead…your dad is dead!’" Beth Roens said. 

Thomas Huster, 79, of Walnut Creek, was killed after a tree came crashing down on the car he was a passenger in while driving home from dinner in the community of Rossmoor. He only lived three blocks from where the tree came crashing down on Stanley Dollar Drive. 

Roens said just after 7 p.m., Huster was riding in the Tesla his wife, Sunhi, was driving. Suddenly a eucalyptus tree came crashing down, crushing the car as it drove in the retirement community where he lived. 

The couple had just finished dinner at a restaurant. 

Roens said her father and his wife were talking and laughing in the moments before he was killed. 

Roens said she received a frantic call from his wife. And she rushed to the scene. 

"I keep likening it to a lightning strike. It's one in a million," said Roens. 

Family members described Huster as a successful attorney who handled a wide range of cases. They also said Huster loved life.

His accomplishments included shutting down a company for defective IUDs and pro bono work to help AIDS patients. 

SEE ALSO: Bay Area storm kills at least 5, knocks out power, brings traffic to a stop

His son, John Huster, said he did litigation work for his father for the last 30 years. He said his father worked until the day he died. 

"[He] kept his law practice in [San Francisco], still rode BART to the city every day, through the pandemic and everything until just a few months ago," his son said. 

Roens said it's a miracle her father's wife survived with a large bruise on her forehead. 

The family was planning on a big celebration for his 80th birthday in May. 

Instead, they're now planning to hold his memorial service then.