Four days after his death, I visited the site where Michael Hastings Mercedes crashed into tree supposedly ending his life. There, a make-shift memorial was set up, and although it was dark, it didn't look like a deadly crash. First, the tree itself although very old and deeply rooted wasn't even nudged by the force of the car.
A force so strong according the the LAPD, it pitched the engine about a a half a block away from the vehicle. In some of these photos, you'll notice the charing on the tree bark isn't global, but it only appears in spots.
There is impact damage to the bark, but it appears to be merely scratches. The images are in hi-res and free to download from my flickr site.
Your greatly under estimating the strength of palm trees!
Palm trees are monocots as opposed to other trees, such as paloverdes or oaks, which are dicots. Basically, monocots, which include grasses, orchids, irises and other stuff, have embryos that sprout straight up in a single shoot, instead of up and out with branches, as dicots do. A palm grows straight up, gaining its height on overlapping leaf bases. Hence, it doesn’t have branches
If you took a cross section of a palm tree, you would find a number of brownish spots instead of the growth rings like you’d find in a dicot.
These are bundles of vascular strands that carry nutrients up and down the tree. It’s like a thick steel cablewoven from a lot of smaller steel wires.
Anyway, each strand in these vascular bundles is connected to the root system. Dicots have woody roots, and in most dicots, 80 percent of the root system is within the top two feet of soil.
Anyone who has ever tried to dig up a palm can tell you it has fibrous roots that not only fan out to great distances but also go down deep. Like to somewhere down around the tectonic plates. So all this combines to give a palm tree a very solid base in the ground and a very supple trunk that will even bend in high winds without breaking.
IMO that tree looks like it took a high impact blow! Am I saying this tree is a lot stronger than a Merc? Indeed, I am! You can even see the fibrous makeup of the trunk to which I speak of, unlike other trees, in the pics!