New York man dies in Carmel after tree hits him during Saturday storm

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A 40-year-old man from New York died Saturday night after a tree fell and hit him during a storm in Carmel, the police department said Sunday.

Witnesses said Elias Smith was trying to escape the storm that night when a tree fell and hit him. Crews with the Carmel police and fire departments responded around 10:43 p.m. to the 11900 block of Westwood Drive, near 116th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway, police said.

First responders found Smith, who had sustained multiple injuries from the falling tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the police department.

Tim Griffin with Carmel Fire Department said several other trees were down in the area.

News 8 has reached out to the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency about the extent of injuries and damage from the Saturday storm, which brought strong winds and hail to the area from about 10-11:30 p.m.

Carmel city councilor Jeff Worrell shared photos of damage on the city’s east side.


“On Saturday evening the world lost a kind, gentle soul when Eli Smith was killed after being struck by a falling tree at his parents’ home in Carmel. Eli was a loving husband, father, son and brother. He was also a devoted educator, working as a public school teacher and then vice principal in Brooklyn, New York. Eli, his wife and two children, ages 3 and 5, were in town visiting Eli’s parents. Around 10:30 PM, Eli and his brother were sitting outside around a fire pit. The storm moved in very quickly, and both brothers ran to take cover. Tragically, Eli did not make it.

“The Smith family would like to express their gratitude to the Carmel Police Department and paramedics who responded on Saturday night. They were not only professional but compassionate. Also, we would like to thank the Carmel officials who were on the scene Sunday morning to provide assistance, especially Fire Chief David Haboush and Council Member Jeff Worrell. Carmel is truly a supportive and caring community.

“Eli grew up in Carmel and graduated from Carmel High School in 1998. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree from Pace University in New York City. He worked as a math teacher before becoming assistant principal in 2014 at the Math & Science Exploratory School in Brooklyn.”

Steve Wagner, Elias Smith’s brother-in-law