Survivors of mudslide that hit Love Creek community speak out

A terrible mudslide hit the Santa Cruz Mountains in January of 1982. The hardest hit area was Love Creek near Ben Lomond.
March 25, 2014 8:02:58 PM PDT
A terrible mudslide hit the Santa Cruz Mountains in January of 1982. The hardest hit area was the community of Love Creek near Ben Lomond.

A memorial with kid stuff and a cross are next to the road running by a creek near Ben Lomond in Santa Cruz County. Trevor and Kelly Mcclusky would have been almost 40 years old now.

They're two of 14 victims from a 1982 landslide that shook Sheila De Laney and her husband Jerry for decades.

"As a personal experience, it took 20 years to recover," survivor Jerry said.

"You start asking questions about it and it feels like yesterday," survivor Sheila said.

The rain began to falling in of all times the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game between the 49ers and New York Giants.

It didn't stop all night. By the next morning, some rain gauges in the county showed eight inches had fallen.

Roads were wiped out, homes wiped out, lives wiped out in an instant.

Wayne: "Did you have any idea what was coming?"

Jerry: "Not at all."

"When it slid? The mountain let loose just after midnight on January 4," Sheila said.

Santa Cruz County's worst natural disaster came without warning. In that way, it was eerily similar to the continuing tragedy in Washington. If anyone understands, the De Laney's do.

"It is going to take years for those people to recover mentally," Jerry said.

He was one of the few people in that ruined, condemned neighborhood, who did not lose his house.

It took a long time, but Sheila and Jerry took that house apart, piece by piece, and rebuilt it. The effort and dealing with the federal government, they say, was almost as stressful as the slide itself.

"Whenever I hear about any kind of a disaster or FEMA is on the way, I go, God help you," Sheila said.

In times of and trauma and tragedy it would appear that he helps those who help themselves.


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