Former NewsChannel 3 reporter talks about the morning she almost died on the job

Posted at 11:06 AM, Apr 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-07 19:27:44-04

Marie Coronel does not remember much about the morning she almost died. It's been two months and it's still too terrifying to face.

She'd just wrapped up a live report on the morning news on KGTV-TV, in her hometown of San Diego, when all of a sudden, a eucalyptus tree came crashing down on her and her photographer.

“I remember standing there, and then I blacked out. The next thing I remember, there were paramedics taking me to an ambulance,” Marie recalls.

Doctors operated on her back and neck for hours. Her husband, John Dunlap, was her rock.

“She started asking, am I dying?,” John remembers. “I made the decision, at that point, hey let's focus, let's get through this.”

Ten days later, Marie left the hospital. She returned home to John and her two sons Patrick and Joseph.

“It's still tough to this day,” Marie says. “I can't be the mommy that fixes it, because I can't pick them up.”

Since the accident, Marie has started physical therapy. She’s upgraded to a smaller, more comfortable, neck brace. Just this week, she got to watch her favorite team, the San Diego Padres, kick off the baseball season.

“I wasn't going to let this keep me from coming, so I'm here,” she said.

Marie spent several years as a reporter here at NewsChannel 3. She left Hampton Roads for San Diego in 2012. She thanks all of her viewers, family and friends for their support, including her extended family here at NewsChannel 3 and in Hampton Roads.