Highway 9 Feb 4 2024
Highway 9 north of Boulder Creek, pictured at 2:52pm Feb. 4. (Drew Penner / Press Banner)

A 45-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on a home just north of Boulder Creek yesterday around 3:30pm.

Ashley Keehn, of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, said Robert Brainard III was killed when a tree slammed into a home on the 14100 block of Highway 9 during high winds and heavy rain.

Deputies responded along with Boulder Creek Fire Protection District firefighters.

Boulder Creek Fire Protection District
Boulder Creek Fire Protection District responded to several calls involving tree damage Sunday, including this downed-wires incident along Two Bar Road, just before 3pm. (Drew Penner / Press Banner)

“One resident made it out of the house, but another was trapped inside,” Keehn said. “Unfortunately, the resident inside sustained injuries from the tree falling into the home and was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

The victim’s name, sex and age has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


  1. I was rasied in Twain Harte. Went to all Local Schools and Columbia College. Also lived and worked in Santa Cruz. Sister now in Aptos. I owned home in Columbia. Small world. Now in Amador County. My maiden last name also ends in ian..

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