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Big Accident on 154
updated: Sep 15, 2010, 8:50 PM

By Roger the Scanner Guy

Traffic Accident, 154 at Vista Point. 5 cars, one on fire, one person possibly ejected. Fire, Medics, CHP Responding. As I hear you will also. Roger

CHP Log:
traffic collision - ambulance responding : location: : sr154 just west of summit
additional details
8:56pm : dave ybarra w/tmc
8:53pm : slocc - shutting dwn east bound 154 at 246 sheriffs department vehicles have a place to turn around
8:52pm : loves / copy standby
8:52pm : holzers to standby
8:52pm : have tow standby for now
8:48pm : entac
8:46pm : cms signs read pass is closed due to accident
8:46pm : close east bound at paradise road
8:42pm : ct ross merrill cpys - will recall with estimated time of arrival
8:41pm : ross merrill / message lft
8:38pm : start ct for traffic control / shut dwn west bound lanes for unknown duration - divert east bound lanes
8:37pm : s3 cpys - on scene shortly
8:36pm : sbso
8:35pm : 20 west bound lanes blocked
8:35pm : start fire department hd rescue
8:30pm : santa barbara
8:30pm : holzers towing
8:30pm : loves
8:28pm : unknown on injuries w/vehs o/s
8:28pm : 2 mod injuries as well 2 ambulance required s rolling numerous fires
8:26pm : 2 vehicles over embankment 20 flat tire subjects inside conscious
8:25pm : off duty fire department dept on scene 1 critical - transition road sbso
8:22pm : one vehicle has fire from hood / male attempt to distinguish
8:21pm : 4 vehicles / one possible on fire
8:21pm : sbso
8:21pm : 5 vehicles inv

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 EDONE agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 08:52 PM

Lynn reports, "Bad, 4 vehicles in the lane of traffic and 2 over the side"


 EDONE agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 08:53 PM

Another report ... "Some type of accident of a major nature has taken place on the San Marcos Pass only know what one relative sitting for quite some time on the northbound side (towards Solvang) observed, no movement towards Solvang, helicopters Search and Rescue Fire and Police on scene"


 COMMENT 105277 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 08:54 PM

Man this one sounds bad. Hope people are OK. There might be a helo up there, they requested a thermal camera then I head a guy saying he couldn't get his FLIR to see through the thick canopy but he could "light things up" so I'm guessing he is in a bird.


 EDONE agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 08:55 PM

More from Roger...

Traffic Accident, 154 at Vista Point. 5 car one on fire, one person possibly ejected. Fire, Medic's CHP Responding. As I hear you will also. Roger

8:28 PM: Cottage is setting up for possible injuries. Two cars are reportly over the side. Heard on scanner and ref. from CHP website.

8:40 PM: LA Batallion Cheif, on scene attempt to rescue those over the side. Requesting copter 1 should be on scene now it's 8:40pm. Possible one critical, 2 Moderate, One minor. Injuries as it stands now. As I hear so will you. Roger

8:50 PM: "The San Marcos Incident" is what this incident is being called. Roger


 COMMENT 105280 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 08:56 PM

Santa Barbara County Fire Department is currently on the scene of an accident involving 7 vehicles and numerous injuries at Hwy. 154 and Stagecoach Rd. Travelers are advised to use alternate routes and avoid using Hwy. 154.

-SBC Fire Facebook.


 EDONE agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 08:57 PM

Another citizen report (8:48)

I live up off of Stagecoach and could hear an accident happen, probably on the 154. Then sirens, now a helicopter is circling. I'm curious if anyone knows what happened. I don't want to go look and get in anyone's way.


 EDONE agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 08:58 PM

Citizen report (8:45)

154 crash, 4 vehicles, 1 on fire. 154 Westbound shut down at summit.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 08:59 PM

Alot of emergency responders.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:01 PM

Per CHP website the injuries stand.


 COMMENT 105288 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:07 PM

Sounds like they are sending the copter home, thermal imaging was of no use.


 COMMENT 105289 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:09 PM

Oh this stinks, what is up with this road? There is now a confirmed fatality.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:09 PM

There's an 1144. Death


 COMMENT 105291 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:10 PM

Coroner heading to scene.


 COMMENT 105292 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:17 PM

I hear the vehicles at 154 and Cathedral Oaks shutting it down over here.


 COMMENT 105294 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:25 PM

POPE you and I are neighbors, came here to post that I can hear CalTrans (or someone) setting up the closure. Best wishes to all involved, rescue and safety personnel too.


 COMMENT 105295P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:28 PM

Where, exactly, did it take place? Sounds like it was quite near the bridge?


 COMMENT 105297 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:36 PM

OP says "at Vista Point". Not sure if that's before the CSBridge as you're heading from SB to say Solvang or if it's at the Dam, past Cachyuma in that direction?


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:38 PM

I heard Stagecoach road mentioned, acouple times I think it's next to the bridge. Isn't Vista Point the parking area up there?


 COMMENT 105299 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:39 PM

CHP site says "just west of summit" so to me, that means as you travel west from SB toward Solvang after you've passed East Camino Cielo.


 COMMENT 105300 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:43 PM

Yeah, it's right over the summit where the parking area is. Stagecoach Rd is just past there so it's probably in that vicinity.


 COMMENT 105301P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:43 PM

There's a pull off the road, vista area after the bridge (west of the bridge) but it's hard to see how that would be a dangerous spot - and that would not have a steep side for vehicles to go off the road. And there are several intersections with Stagecoach Road - just west of the bridge, heading down to Cold Spring Tavern, and another crossing down near Paradise Road.

I had a chance to go to a fundraiser on Saturday in the Valley and no way will I drive the pass on a Saturday night.... Foolish, perhaps, but it's a scary road or, rather, many of the other drivers are scary.


 COMMENT 105302 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:45 PM

KEYT says it's a confirmed fatality, and 5 cars were involved. They say "1/4 mile from the summit near Stagecoach Rd."


 COMMENT 105303P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:47 PM

Wonder if any big rigs were in the area?


 COMMENT 105305 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:52 PM

CHP says just west of Stagecoach, but Stagecoach has two intersections with the 154: one at the very top, and the second down past Paradise Rd. However I think they are talking about Stagecoach at the top of the pass with this accident.


 COMMENT 105306 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:54 PM

Ah.. I should of refreshed before commenting, all explained before me.

What does "CT" mean on CHP site?


 COMMENT 105307 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:55 PM

CHP isn't saying what vehicle types were involved. KEYT is only reporting "vehicles" and that "one car" was involved.

In my 30+ year history of living here the recent big rig incident is the only one in my memory BTW. I'd first blame marine layer/fog but here it's clear. No notes from CHP about fog. Let's leave conjecture aside for now and keep positive thoughts for those affected, and updates as they become available.


 COMMENT 105308 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 09:56 PM

POPE I'll guess "CalTrans"?


 COMMENT 105311 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 10:27 PM

FOX11 news (KKFX) said at 10:22 tonight it was a 7 car "pile up" but then the on-scene reporter described 5 cars involved. They also report one fatality. They report an eastbound SUV lost control and hit another eastbound car, and those 2 hit 3 westbound cars. At 10:20 pm they report both directions of hwy 154 are closed and will remain so for "the next few" hours. Closures at 154 and 246 plus 154 at Cathedral Oaks.


 COMMENT 105312P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 10:29 PM

10:15PM 1039 SBSO
9:15PM 1039 29-S4
9:07PM 1039 CT/ROSS COPY LINE 48


 COMMENT 105316P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-15 11:17 PM

Keep us posted, Roger. We're on W Camino Cielo. We heard siren, after siren.


 COMMENT 105321P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 05:58 AM

Another sort article about the accident.


 COMMENT 105331 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 06:53 AM

There was fog last night. For 154 people are eager to blame the authorities or the rigs. Short of desperation and closing the route down permanently, little can be done. The thoughtless, manic killer drivers would only move on to another route anyway. it's up to the individual driver to be responsible for his or her actions on this road. If attitudes don't change 154 will continue to be the ride to hell it has become


 COMMENT 105335 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 07:05 AM

I heard this morning it was caused by a drunk driver


 COMMENT 105336 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 07:11 AM

I live off of Stagecoach and drove up the pass shortly before the accident. I could hear it from my house. I didn't see any fog when I was coming up or while I was at home. People drive like maniacs. Last week I had someone pass me on the shoulder, only so that he could beat me to the stoplight at the bottom.


 COMMENT 105341 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 07:25 AM

105336 did you take the license # and call CHP?

I wonder if those who frequently travel the 154 and frequently see crap like that started to call and "pester" the CHP with more reports real-time, if more would be done. Pass on the shoulder? Seriously? Amazingly disgusting display. Stay safe out there folks.


 COMMENT 105359 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 07:50 AM

If I'm an thinking like CALTRANS, I have it! Let's make the 154 a main big rig trucking route. That should improve safety.... More enforcement on the road isn't the answer. We need easily enforceable regulations and physical improvements, like raod shoulders and passing lanes.


 COMMENT 105361 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 07:52 AM

Well I am a weekly commuter on 154 and call CHP often, but have only witnessed one time that they caught up with the driver (in 7 years of commuting). It is hard to get the license number and yes, you usually are next to them at the light. There are the drunk drivers, but many are just people with no respect for this road.


 COMMENT 105373 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 08:15 AM

Passing lanes are scary on curves, the passing lane they put right after Windy gap, is very dangerous,people speed up over 70,and there was a head on there last year sometime,when someone drifted over while passing. I think they need to make the speed limit one number, it goes from 30 back to 55,in all different areas


 COMMENT 105382 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 08:28 AM

These drivers wil not take a different route. They are taking the "Chumash highway" as it was illegally named by members of the Assembly and Senate after the sponsors all took large "contributions" from the Chumash casino. It was all done behind closed doors without any public knowledge or input or the required resolution of the Board of Supervisors, which is required by the California Streets and Highways Code. Well, as could be expected, the "Chumash Highway" (a cheap publicity stunt for the casino), is rapidly becoming a regular slaughter alley! What is the current death toll over the last three or four years? The tribe currently has an applcatioin pending before the ABC to expand their alcohol sales and little is being done about the rampant use of methamphetamines there!


 COMMENT 105387 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 08:31 AM

Has Cal Trans ran out of reflectors and white paint? They still haven't finished striping the road and there are no center divider reflectors the last few miles on 154 towards SB. Believe me, it's pretty dark out there at night!


 COMMENT 105395 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 08:40 AM

I have written Doreen Farr and here is what she said:

"Supervisor Wolf and I have requested that this issue (154 safety) be put on the October 21st agenda of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG). The SBCAG board is made up of all five county supervisors and one representative from each of the city councils in the county and is tasked with making decisions regarding regional housing and transportation issues. For that agenda item, we have asked that both CALTRANS and the CHP come and give an informational report about Highway 154 and the truck traffic on it and what steps they have taken, or will take, to make the road safer. I strongly encourage you to come and speak during public comment on this item and voice your concerns. If you cannot attend in person, I hope you will send an email to all of the SBCAG board members prior to the meeting."

You need to show up and get involved.


 EDONE agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 08:56 AM

The story is updated here with names of injured and description of how it happened.


 COMMENT 105409P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 09:07 AM

105382 - if the drunk driver who caused the accident is the owner of the Paradise Cafe, then it appears that this accident has nothing to do with the Chumash Casino or Wine Tasting rooms. Without having any other information, it is sad that everything is twisted into being the fault of the Casino. And as far as road use is concerned, there is probably no other route to the Paradise Cafe than the 154.

NOTE: This comment incorrectly identifies Susman as the owner of the Paradise Cafe. It is reported that she is owner of the Paradise STORE (on Paradise Road).


 COMMENT 105418 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 09:15 AM

I'll bet NO ONE can tell me what the Highest posted speed on 154! Now that it has been resurfaced and stripped, it has become an even more dangerous hwy. EVERYONE speeds on this road. Filled with impatient drivers who can't stand to have to follow someone or thing up the road. They complain about big rigs because they slow them down and effect their speed over the mountain. Big rigs don't cause wrecks, it is impatient drivers who take dangerous chances.


 COMMENT 105434 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 09:46 AM

105409P you're right, but other recent wreck has involved a guy coming from the Casino. (I think - maybe he was headed there. Anyway...) Doesn't matter to me where or why they are drunk, if they're driving on the pass (or anywhere really) it's got to stop.

Many years ago when I was first learning to drive my parents were nervous of the pass because of the drunks from Cold Springs tavern. So there's always been "something" to blame. Today it's the casino or wineries. Or big rigs. Or fog. Or deer.

Thanks for the info about SBCAG.


 COMMENT 105440 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 09:57 AM

I am glad the Supervisors are looking into this matter. I would like to see statistics measuring the number of accidents in relation to the alleged road improvements. In my opinion I think the improvements plus the publicity have increased both the speed and traffic. Recently I have seen many CHP officers on and near the summit pulling unsafe drivers over. Last week they had pulled three over at West Camino Cielo at 9:00am and another about 9:30am. There was an officer in plain sight with a traffic monitor pointed at the downhill traffic and still cars were racing to the bottom.
Is anyone keeping statistics as to where the drunks are getting tanked? Let's get rid of speculation and take measures to find out the sources.


 COMMENT 105442P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 10:01 AM

When/time and where is the SBCAG meeting?


 COMMENT 105443 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 10:04 AM

Alas, you cannot legislate against stupidity but the State of California used to have driver education classes in the high schools. Are there any statistics to measure the repercussions of cutting taxes and the seemingly epidemic level of uneducated and rude drivers.


 COMMENT 105448 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 10:11 AM

Who out there thinks the increased problems are exacerbated by the new GPS? When north/south 101 travelers have their settings on "shortest route" they are directed onto 154, day or night. In years past, these same travelers would have continued on their way via 101 because that would be the obvious route. Recently I've had several young people driving down from the Bay Area arrive at my house a bit freaked out by the "weird/scary" road they were directed onto by their GPS. I never take 154 at night or in the rain or whenever I think more drunks would be on the road (such as going-home time for the weekend campers or casino people). Can this GPS thing be remedied?


 COMMENT 105452 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 10:15 AM

I don't think the improvements (if you call shoddy resurfacing an improvement) have increased speed at all on the pass. I'm a daily driver of the road, have been for almost 20 years now, and it does not matter if it's smooth or rough..people FLY on that road and the ones that do couldn't care less if it's rough or smooth, they just want to be "first" at the stop light.

The stop light comment is a good one, it really does not matter if you pass 5 or 10 cars while commuting the pass, you all make i to the other side at the same time...SOMETHING is going to slow you down and you sit at the light (SB side) or turn onto 246 (SY side) at the SAME time as the the other drivers. Years ago, before our areas grew so much, you could make a little time on the pass getting around slower drivers (I was younger then, probably lucky to still be here now) but it's pointless to risk everyone's for what equates to SECONDS in gained time. Not even minutes.

What's the world coming to when we are in THAT much of a hurry.. I want out! LOL

@105418 - The highest posted speed limit on 154 is 55 MPH.

@105373 - I get what your saying...there are three places on the pass where passing lanes end on turns. Common knowledge is that passing lanes are for passing and impatient drivers use them as a way to race around slower drivers. When they come around that turn pushing 80MPH and realize that the lane ends, things can get hairy. There's been multiple wrecks at each ot these locations. You would think someone at CalTrans would have thought to end the lanes 50 yards earlier.


 COMMENT 105462P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 10:23 AM

105442P - Um, Oct 21?

Unless you mean what time, in which case I think they meet during the day, unfortunately for office-workers like myself.

I Googled "SBCAG" and the first hit is their website, BTW.


 COMMENT 105525 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 11:57 AM

Just for clarification. Priscilla Susman is an owner of Paradise Store and Grill not Paradise Cafe.


 COMMENT 105686P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 07:49 PM

I am staying OFF the 154 - seems like every other day there's a fatal accident. My thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims of this drunk driver.


 COMMENT 105696 agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 08:27 PM

There really is no reason to take the 154 if you're just going to hit the 101. It's not faster - and it certainly isn't safer.

RIP and I hope the injured recover quickly. And the guilty pay for their crime - in this life or the next.


 COMMENT 105729P agree helpful negative off topic

2010-09-16 10:17 PM

Quite unfortunate. Been on the Pass most of my life and I often see people race through the straights to slow down to 30 at every turn. This makes it dangerous for those with short tempers who will pass on the shoulder or other bad places, but I also think it makes the road safer for forcing speed demons like myself to slow down, enjoy the scenery and be thankful that we can drive this beautifully scenic mountain road. Drunk drivers are all over the place they just seem more prevalent on the Pass because it forces them to screw up and show how bad their skills really are when they are DUI. And its hard for law enforcement to stop them because it is mostly a two lane road. They can sit and wait and then be caught behind a long line of cars and not get to the person they really want to talk to. However when they do get the chance, they do make an impact on speeders and DUIs. I often see CHP with someone pulled over at West Camino Cielo for speeding over the summit, usually over 70 mph. A friend of mine is usually missing his mail box because idiots screaming over the top take it out when they crash and burn. Beautiful thoughts and prayers towards all involved.


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