Another falling tree. Another miracle

Placer High student: “Somebody up there looking out for me”
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
Another falling tree. Another miracle in the Auburn area. A day after a Penryn woman narrowly missed being in her car as a tree flattened it, a Placer High School student was counting his own lucky stars Friday. Josh Braica, 18, was backing his car away from a fence in the school’s outside auto shop area when a 30-foot limb split off from a pine tree and fell directly toward his car. A chain-link fence and a roof overhanging the shop parking area helped break the fall of the huge tree branch as it crashed into his car. “Somebody up there is looking out for me,” Braica said, who added that Friday happened to be his father’s birthday. Braica’s Toyota four-door sustained a large dent on the roof and scratches from branches that did reach his auto. But the high-school senior was able to drive the car away. The tree branch came down at about noon Friday, a day after Penryn’s Sheila Martin cheated death by seconds when she was able to see an oak falling toward her as she was removing newspapers from her car. The Auburn Journal carrier said she got out of the way and watched as the tree flattened her car “like a pancake.” Thursday was particularly windy in the Auburn area while winds had died down by Friday. Placer High School trees have caused close calls on at least one other occasion. Tom Mackay, plant operations supervisors and a 30-year Placer Union High School District employee, said a principal’s secretary was able to just avoid a falling oak about a decade ago. “I’ve never seen a young lady run so fast in all my life,” Mackay said. The tree the branch split off from Friday would likely be removed and others nearby – all gnarled, picturesque pines on a campus that is more than a century old – would be evaluated for safety, he said. The trees are located on a slope above a walkway used by students to travel by foot across campus. “It’s too bad if the trees have to be removed but when it comes to kids or trees, it’s not worth it to have the trees here if they’re not safe,” Mackay said. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at