At least 5 killed, SFPD sergeant hurt in powerful Bay Area storm, officials say

2 people who were killed in Rossmoor and Portola Valley have been identified, officials said

J.R. Stone Image
Thursday, March 23, 2023
At least 5 killed, SFPD sergeant hurt in Bay Area storm: Officials
At least five people in the Bay Area have died as a result of Tuesday's powerful Level 3 storm.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- At least five people died as a result of Tuesday's powerful Level 3 Storm due to fallen trees.

San Francisco police announced on Wednesday an SFPD sergeant was struck by a falling tree during Tuesday's storm. He was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.

The department said the incident happened while the sergeant was driving on the 800 block of Brotherhood Way.

When officers arrived, personnel from the San Francisco Fire Department were on scene and had already extricated the sergeant from his vehicle.

The sergeant is a 16-year veteran of the SFPD, police said, adding his identity will not be released at this time.

"To see the tree fallen over and cars in there, it was just so sad," said Renee Stephens who lives nearby.

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Stephens couldn't tell what vehicles were under the trees, only that trees had come down on cars. She didn't realize that the veteran police sergeant who was on duty, had to be rescued by firefighters and is now in serious condition.

"You just think about the timing, like how 30 seconds before or 30 seconds later he wouldn't have had that happen, it's so crazy to think that," said Stephens.

"Just pray for them. Think about them and they need our support. I think and it's really tragic actually that a storm could cause that much damage and threaten lives," said Tim Drisdelle was inside New North Church on Brotherhood Way when the trees began falling.

A falling tree killed a person at Lake Merritt in Oakland, according to our media partner, the East Bay Times.

In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed's office just confirmed two people died from storm-related injuries.

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It is fair to say that Tuesday's storm was unprecedented. ABC7 News meteorologist Drew Tuma explains the Fujiwhara Effect here.

One of those deaths happened around 4 p.m. on Tuesday at 23rd Ave. and Lincoln Way in San Francisco when a person was struck by a tree branch.

Officers arrived on scene and discovered a person struck by fallen tree branches.

Officers say they rendered aid, and the victim was taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries, but later died.

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The second death in San Francisco was also brought to ZSFG but did not survive their injuries, the mayor's office said.

They said as a result of high winds, there were initial reports of over 700 fallen trees and limbs across the city and reports of glass and debris falling from high rise towers.

Two other people were killed when trees crushed their vehicles Tuesday night. One in Portola Valley and one in Rossmoor.

The CHP says the victim was in a work van when a tree fell and crushed it in Portola Valley. It happened on Alpine Drive Tuesday afternoon.

The victim was identified as 29-year-old Jesus Ivan Cruz Diaz of San Jose.

As crews were working to get Cruz out, more trees fell... crushing another car parked nearby.

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"With the roads so wet, and the ground so saturated and the wind being the way that it is, today is the day to not be driving. some of these events are just unpredictable unfortunately," said Sgt. Daniel Hill, CHP Redwood City.

Crews had to remove trees from the top of the car before they could tow it and get the victim out.

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In Rossmoor, the Contra Costa Fire Department reported to a tree falling on car Tuesday night.

It happened around 7 p.m. on Stanely Dollar Drive.

The passenger in the car died after dangerous winds toppled the tree.

Thomas Huster, 79, of Walnut Creek, was identified as the person killed, according to the Contra Costa County Coroner's Office on Wednesday.

The driver of the vehicle had no life-threatening injuries, fire officials said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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