Tracking the deaths from California’s winter storms: At least 22 killed

Two people look at rocks and debris, including two white tanks, blocking a road.
Fire officials respond on Jan. 10 to a rock slide in Toro Canyon, Calif., that involved two 500-gallon propane tanks.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

The series of winter storms that has battered California has proved dangerous and deadly, causing at least 22 storm-related deaths across the state. As Southern California entered a dry spell Tuesday, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento region and northern and central coastlines weren’t expected to begin drying out until Thursday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that the storms had claimed “more lives than wildfires in the past two years combined.”

The Times has continued to gather details to provide the latest figures on storm fatalities.



Two were killed by a rock slide in Yosemite National Park, Dec. 27

A husband and wife were killed in a rockfall about half a mile east of the Arch Rock Entrance station in Yosemite National Park. Rocks fell from about 1,000 feet above the road, and the force of the impact pushed their Dodge Ram rental truck off the road and into an embankment of the Merced River, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. They were George Theocharous, 51, and Ming Yan, 35, of San Jose.


A man was killed by a falling tree at a state beach, Santa Cruz County, Dec. 31

Gary Yules, a 72-year-old man from Santa Cruz, was killed by a falling cypress tree at Lighthouse Field State Beach in Santa Cruz on New Year’s Eve, according to the Santa Cruz County coroner’s office.


Three bodies were found in floodwaters, Sacramento County, Jan. 1

Three people died in floodwaters near where levees breached along the Cosumnes and Mokelumne rivers. They were pronounced dead New Year’s Day, according to the Sacramento County coroner’s office.

  • Steven Sampson, a 45-year-old man from McAlester, Okla.
  • Katherine Martinez, a 61-year-old woman from Orland, Calif.
  • Mei Keng Lam, a 57-year-old woman from San Leandro, Calif.

A woman died after her vehicle flipped into a creek, San Bernardino County, Jan. 1

Christine Flores, 65, was found dead in her flipped vehicle after she lost control driving on Arrowbear Drive in San Bernardino County, landing in a creek, according to California Highway Patrol officials and the county coroner’s office. She lived in Big Bear Lake.


A man’s body was recovered from Upper Penitencia Creek, Santa Clara County, Jan. 1

A 56-year-old man was found face down in fast-moving water in San Jose on New Year’s Day after the creek overflowed the previous night, according to the Santa Clara County coroner’s office. His identity has not been released.


A man’s body was recovered from the American River, El Dorado County, Jan. 3

Bruce Gordon, 33, was found dead at the South Fork of the American River, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.


A child was killed by a falling tree, Sonoma County, Jan. 4

Aeon Tocchini, a 2-year-old boy from Occidental, was killed when a redwood tree fell on his family’s double-wide trailer, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. His father was also in the trailer but survived.


A woman died in a car crash, Solano County, Jan. 4

Marmsha Nash, a 19-year-old woman from Fairfield, was killed when her car hydroplaned and hit a utility pole, according to Solano County officials.


A woman died after her vehicle got stuck on a flooded roadway, San Mateo County, Jan. 5

Marta Rivera-Morales, 70, was attempting to drive through a flooded roadway in San Mateo County when her vehicle became stuck, according to the Santa Clara County coroner’s office. She died at Stanford Hospital in Santa Clara County.


A man was found dead in drainage overflow, San Bernardino County, Jan. 6

Rodrigo Lucero Bonola, 41, was found in a drainage overflow area near East Highland Avenue in north San Bernardino, according to the San Bernardino County coroner’s office. He was likely unhoused, officials said.


Two people were killed by falling trees, Sacramento County, Jan. 7

Two unhoused people were found dead in separate areas after tree branches fell onto their tents, according to the Sacramento County coroner’s office.

  • Rebekah Rohde, a 40-year-old woman
  • Steven Sorensen, a 61-year-old man

A man working on repair efforts was killed when his truck went off the road, Mendocino County, Jan. 7

Edgar Castillo, a 37-year-old man from Elk Grove, died during a traffic collision in Manchester. Castillo was employed by a company that was assisting the utility company PG&E with storm-related repair efforts in Mendocino County. He was driving a tree service boom truck that rolled over several times after leaving the road, county officials said.


A woman was killed by a falling tree, Mendocino County, Jan. 9

Susan Stever, a 68-year-old woman from Fort Bragg, was killed by a tree that fell into her home on North Highway 1 while she was asleep, according to county officials.


An unidentified female driver was found dead, San Luis Obispo County, Jan. 9

A woman died in a vehicle on a closed road after being overtaken by floodwaters in Avila Beach, according the California Highway Patrol.


Two unidentified people were killed in a crash, Tulare County, Jan. 10

The crash was reported around 5:55 a.m. on Highway 99 near Goshen. Lightning struck a tree, causing it to fall onto the northbound lanes.


A woman was found dead in a submerged car, Sonoma County, Jan. 11

Daphne Fontino, a 43-year-old woman from Ukiah, was found in a submerged car in Forestville, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.


A woman was found dead next to a fallen branch, San Francisco, Jan. 14

An elderly woman was found next to a large fallen tree branch in Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Fire Department said. Firefighters were called to the scene and performed lifesaving measures, but the woman did not survive.


Times staff writer Rong-Gong Lin II contributed to this report.