Driver Killed When Tree Fell on Truck in Santa Cruz County

Tree Crashes Down Onto Pickup Truck

A tree fell onto a pickup truck in Santa Cruz County on Friday, October 22, 2021. The driver was killed.

Details of the Santa Cruz Tree Accident

First reports of the accident came into the California Highway Patrol (CHP) at approximately 1:20 p.m. The location of the incident was East Zayante Road between Graham Hill Road and Redwood Road. 

According to CHP reports, a man had been driving a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck on East Zayante, in the vicinity of Highland Drive, when a tree crashed down onto the cab of his truck. Accident investigators believe that the impact of the tree falling forced the driver off the road. The driver suffered fatal injuries. His identity has not yet been released.

Investigation and Road Closure

The incident necessitated the closure of East Zayante Road from Redwood Circle to Graham Hill Road. A power pole was damaged in the crash, and it took a number of hours for PG&E to complete repairs. At 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, the CHP announced that the streets in the area of the crash would be closed for 8-10 hours so that authorities and crews could remove the truck, victim, and tree from the scene.

Video taken at the crash site revealed the Toyota Tacoma had traveled down an embankment, approximately five feet from the road, and a tree was on top of the truck. The truck’s cab was smashed inward.

Watch the YouTube video. The clip below shows the aftermath of the fatal crash. Warning: while the video is not graphic, it may be disturbing to those who knew the driver.

Tree Fall Accidents 

While there has been no official explanation as to what caused the Santa Cruz County tree to crash down onto a vehicle, it is highly likely that the heavy rainfall following several years of drought conditions played a role.

Many people may read this story and think that such an event is a freak accident, but trees crash down and cause injuries and deaths with surprising frequency. 

Northern California enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers. Over the past several years, the region has experienced severe drought conditions. Lack of water significantly weakens trees and when we experience a storm such as that which blew through the region on Sunday, those weakened trees and tree branches can fail. When trees or large tree limbs come crashing to the ground, they can cause severe injuries, property damage, and even death, such as in this tragic Santa Cruz County incident.  

Who is Responsible for a Tree Accident?

When a tree on private property falls and causes damage, the property owner can be held responsible if they were aware that they had a damaged or weakened tree that needed maintenance, yet failed to remedy the situation. When the tree is on public property, the liability issue becomes more complex. An experienced tree accident lawyer can look at the facts and evidence and determine whether there has been negligence with regard to tree maintenance.

San Francisco Tree Injury Lawyer

Hello and thank you for reading our report on this terrible tree accident that occurred in Santa Cruz County. My name is Ed Smith, and I am a San Francisco Tree Injury Lawyer. If you have suffered injuries due to a falling tree or your family has experienced a loss as a result of such an incident, our experienced injury attorneys are here to help. Call us for free and friendly advice at (800) 404-5400 or (415) 805-7284.

For nearly 40 years, our firm has advocated for Northern Californians who have been harmed due to negligence. Please see our settlements and verdicts page. Read what our former clients say about our services on the sites linked below:

Photo: by David Tomaseti via Unsplash

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