Storm damage: Mudslide sinks PG&E worker’s truck in Santa Cruz

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SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Another night of heavy rain left its calling card in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Trees are down, along with some power lines, and there were some mudslides — mostly minor.

One such slide made for a close call for a PG&E crewman whose rig rolled down a steep grade when the road beneath it gave out.

A PG&E utility worker was assessing storm damage in the Aptos Hills when a section of Valencia School Road washed out in heavy rain just after midnight.

Neighbor Corrine Wright was stunned to see what happened.

“I drove over this about three times last night and didn’t notice the slip-out until my third trip back over it,” Wright said. “So I had no idea this would be this severe.”

The driver was treated for minor injuries after his bucket truck rolled several times before coming to a stop about 300 feet down the steep slope, just short of Ron Park’s home.

“We saw flashlights up on the hills and didn’t quite know what was going on and then fire engines came,” Park said.

The road is closed. Water is still seeping from the slide, which may still be moving.

The man who will try and pull the 20,000 pound truck out of the mud says the slide is unrelated to the alerts about debris flows and mudslides in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires.

“This particular area has no burn scars, so this is strictly saturation from the rain,” Kelvin Raymar, Auto Care Towing, said.

Elsewhere in the Santa Cruz mountains, some mostly minor rock and mudslides are reported along with downed trees and power lines.

After helping to rescue him, the Santa Cruz CHP tweeted that utility crews working all night in heavy weather to keep the lights on are “unsung heroes.”

“It could’ve been me and all my children,” Wright said. “Glad that it wasn’t.”

Pulling the truck back up the hill might have to wait several days for the soil to dry out some. Fixing the road may take longer still.

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