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SACRAMENTO - A mother and daughter are thankful to be to be alive after a near-death experience.

They were driving along Arcade Boulevard, near Del Paso Boulevard, just after 5 p.m. Saturday when a huge tree branch fell on Shelene Richards' little red Honda.

"It was so fast; everything happened so quickly. In an instant, you could literally die," Richards said. "You know, I should not be here."

Richards and her daughter Hanna were stopped at a stop sign at Diggs Park Drive -- not far from their home -- when the branch destroyed the car's windows.

"So I turned to my mom and I see the front window gone," Hanna described. "And I see my mom standing there shaking and all the glass on her. And I turn to the back and see the window is busted."

As terrifying as that was, Richards walked away without a scratch. She knows she's lucky to be alive.

"The fire guy came up you and said, 'You know what? If you would have pulled up a little more, that branch would have gone through there and just have gone through your heart,'" Richards said.

It's unclear why the tree branch fell - it could have been a freak accident or the weather weakened an already old tree.

"It just fell out of nowhere," Hanna said. "Once I saw how big it was, I was like 'Oh my goodness! You know that's a big branch. We could have died.'"

Richards and Hanna are still in shock.

"I was kind of traumatized," Hanna said.

"I just said 'Thank you Jesus!' That's what I said," Richards said.

Richards is certain that she's still alive for one reason and puts things in perspective.

"When something like this happens, it makes you realize you could literally be dead if there isn't something looking out for you," she said.

"I don't have my little Honda anymore," Richards added. "My Honda is gone. It's gone. But, I'm here."

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