'He's going to be our guardian': Iredell Co. man killed in freak accident when tree falls onto car

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — Brian Cooper met his future wife Ashley Cooper five and a half years ago.

"I was lucky to find someone, we clicked from the first moment we met,” Ashley Cooper said.

Troopers said 38-year-old Brian Cooper died Thursday afternoon when a tree smashed onto his car as he was driving down Mocksville Highway in Iredell County.

"I think about how much I miss him,” Ashley Cooper said. “He was my partner and best friend and I won’t have that."

Brian Cooper had two sons, a 15-year-old and a 7-month-old.

"He's cutting his fourth tooth. It's like almost through,” Ashley Cooper said.

Tropical Storm Michael raced through the Carolinas after making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane along the Florida Panhandle.

[PHOTOS: Damage and flooding from Tropical Storm Michael]

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“Trees have been falling across the road around here,” said Danny Crater, who lives nearby “We were really blessed to be spared.”

Troopers said Brian Cooper, who recently celebrated his birthday, was killed instantly when a large oak tree crashed down on his black sedan.

“It breaks my heart, really,” Crater said. “It was really a shock.”

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Brian Cooper was an RFID technical worker.

Troopers said that a few seconds either way and Cooper would still be alive.

“That was really sad,” Crater said. “I didn’t know the young man personally, but our prayers go out to his family.”

"It had been a tough year for us with his health, but I know he'd much rather be here and not feel good than not be here and feel great, but at the same time I'm glad to know he's not suffering,” Ashley Cooper said. “He's going to be our guardian angel from now on cause he was always a protector. I don't think not being here is going to stop that."

Officials said six people have been killed as Michael roared through Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

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