Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

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Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision
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Photo: SBCFD

Update by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office
3:45 p.m. September 16, 2019
 

A Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office employee was involved in a serious injury collision on SR – 154 near Lake Cachuma on Saturday evening, September 14, 2019.

The Buellton office of the California Highway Patrol responded to the accident.  Javier Antunez, an off-duty Custody lieutenant assigned to the Main Jail, was driving one of the vehicles involved in the collision and was placed under arrest for driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and causing injury.

Antunez has been employed with the Sheriff’s Office since 1999.  He has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.


Update by edhat staff
10:00 p.m. September 14, 2019

Three vehicles collided on Highway 154 Saturday evening causing seven people to be injured.

At 7:15 p.m., Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to the scene approximately 3/4 of a mile east of the Lake Cachuma entrance. Crews discovered three vehicles involved in a head-on collision.

Public Information Officer Mike Eliason reports a BMW traveling eastbound on Highway 154 two occupants, a male and female, drifted into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with a Toyota Tacoma driving westbound with four occupants. Another vehicle that was behind the accident, a Jeep with one female occupant, struck both vehicles.

There was a total of 7 patients, one with critical injuries. A CalStar helicopter landed on Highway 154 and flew the critical patient to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital while three ambulances transported three more patients with moderate injuries to the same hospital. There were three other patients that suffered minor injuries who declined transport to the hospital and were treated at the scene, said Eliason. 

Highway 154 was shut down in both directions for a time during the medical response and investigation.


Reported by Roger the Scanner Guy
7:32 p.m., September 14, 2019

Highway 154 3/4ths a mile East of Lake Cachuma.

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letmego Sep 16, 2019 09:23 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

There are many sections of 154 that have a lower than 55 mph speed limit. A speed limit of 55 mph means maximum speed - there are many conditions that would make that speed unsafe. (Traffic, mist, fog, rain, etc.) It's fine to poke along at 45 mph if it is safer. The road DOES need passing areas though. There are sections of the 154 that I HATE to drive - and I'm perfectly happy to pull over and let 1 (or 10, though it's rarely 10 - I'm not that slow) cars go past me. But there are very few spots for that.

LadyLove3816 Sep 15, 2019 03:30 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Just wanted to go ahead and note that the article mentioned that the BMW “drifted” (into oncoming traffic). I am not trying to dissuade the argument about the severity and dangers of speeding on the 154, and especially this stretch of road. I just wanted to point out that there are other dangers to consider and, all in speculation of course, this very well could have been an unfortunate example of falling asleep behind the wheel, not sure...I just hope that everyone is okay and that they recover quickly...

LadyLove3816 Sep 16, 2019 04:32 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

I was not informed of that at the time that I posted my comment- thank you for correcting me, I guess I was just trying to give the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately however it seems I couldn’t have been more wrong. I honestly don’t know what to say...

LadyLove3816 Sep 16, 2019 04:32 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

I was not informed of that at the time that I posted my comment- thank you for correcting me, I guess I was just trying to give the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately however it seems I couldn’t have been more wrong. I honestly don’t know what to say...

LadyLove3816 Sep 16, 2019 04:32 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

I was not informed of that at the time that I posted my comment- thank you for correcting me, I guess I was just trying to give the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately however it seems I couldn’t have been more wrong. I honestly don’t know what to say.

a-1571370416 Sep 15, 2019 01:04 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

The 154 has become so much more dangerous even just in the last 3-4 years. People are driving on that road now who are not aware and/or don't care of the dangers and not paying constant attention. Not to mention impaired people. I agree with the lowering on the speed limit, been saying that for awhile, more patrolling AND signs at the each end stating "FATAL ACCIDENT ZONE". I've seen signs like that in other places and it works. At this point, no reason not to take these measures and if anything, potentially making the gov't liable as they now know the problems are getting worse and worse. The people I feel bad for are the locals/regular drivers on that road who get it and are careful and end up injured or worse because of someone who doesn't.

Eggs Ackley Sep 19, 2019 03:52 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

How has the road become more dangerous? Has CalTrans made modifications to make it less safe? ITS THE PEOPLE! You want the government to be liable for the actions of a small percentage of thoughtless people. What a slippery slope that is! PS Suing yourself is never a good idea. Try suing the casino and wine tasting rooms for allowing their patrons to leave drunk. That is where the liability lies and where you will get the most bang for your buck.

a-1571370416 Sep 18, 2019 03:09 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

It has everything to do with the casino. I live off of 154 and have a clear view of the windy gap area. The traffic on that road is non stop all night long 7 days a week. Most heavy traffic is between 12-3 AM. You can’t tell me that is because of GPS, newbies, commuters or wineries. Over the last 10 years traffic has steadily increased. The casino and its LA advertising has created a mess. It’s only going to get worse when camp 4 is developed.

a-1571370416 Sep 16, 2019 06:12 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

I do not believe it has anything to do with the Casino or wineries - they have been there for a long time. I think it has to do w/ GPS and newbies to the area who don't understand the road and drive it incorrectly and dangerously.

Factotum Sep 15, 2019 12:47 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Ask our local elected officials who oversee Caltrans to be accountable for this continuing carnage - Moinque Limon and Hannah-Beth Jackson. Make anyone running to replace these two accountable about fixing this almost daily, if not weekly carnage. When locals are prevented from accessing their own back country due to unsafe conditions caused by out of town drivers, our local elected officials should have been stopping this a long time ago. However, we do have a long history of "fixing" 154 particularly after Lois Capps and her husband US Rep Walter Capps were devastating accident victims on this very highway. It is beyond time to do something drastic and come clean about who is causing and why are these accidents happening with such morbid frequency.

PitMix Sep 16, 2019 10:44 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Really, you think those elected officials have that much power, and can micromanage Caltrans into making people drive sensibly? Maybe they could ask the CHP to do increased enforcement on that road, but if everyone is speeding, which it looks to me like they are, then they only get the drivers that are really going fast. I guess the more interesting question to me is why are so many people in such a hurry to get to where they are going? What do they do with that extra 5 mins they saved by driving like maniacs?

Alexblue Sep 15, 2019 12:08 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

How about a sign at the bottom of the hill on both sides that has a huge running tally of injured and dead on this road. Remember the "Blood Alley" sign up near Salinas? It always got my attention and refocused me on speed and safety. Flashing yellow lights at various locations. Put more CHP units up there and station them in obvious places--they will make a lot of money for the department by writing speeding tickets.

Red Creek Sep 15, 2019 11:54 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

We camp at Cachuma Lake regularly. One can hear the traffic, especially from the Mohawk side of the campground. The traffic amps up during the summer to incredible numbers, from early morning to late at night, especially bad on weekends. The highway is not designed for the speed and numbers of vehicles passing through. Good suggestions to lower speed limits. If more vehicles are jammed in there, the accidents will increase, and more will be injured and die. Cal Trans wake up.

Lucky 777 Sep 15, 2019 08:34 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Blame Waze & Google Maps. Those who want to "get to Santa Barbara 10 minutes quicker" are flooding onto the 154 at the northern access by Los Olivos. I say we make it a toll road. Locals would be glad to pay a small fee to stop the carnage caused by these distracted speeders.

Alexblue Sep 16, 2019 11:32 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Black Band at 3:30--dude, pretty sure that the money collected by writing speeding tickets goes into the State's coffers which fund the CHP, you may not know those three letters stand for "California Highway Patrol". So, yeah, the CHP, i.e., the State of California can make a lot of money ticketing people on the 154 all day long. Have a "stoopid" day.

ginger1 Sep 15, 2019 11:27 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

The GPS issue is a valid concern. I used to live near there and I'm an excellent driver. And so I take 101 to avoid those who are not. I believe the issue around the Lake Cachuma area is the narrow, winding roadway. The speed signs say reduce speed to 45mph and they mean it! Should be 40. Even competent drivers with competent vehicles can't do 55/60 safely. Like most traffic "accidents", excessive speed and inattention are the major concerns. All of 154 should be a reduced speed zone, but CalTrans has rules about speed and signage. Slow down and enjoy the view and ride, or not and die. Now that's a sign I'd like to see. ;-)

SantaBarbaraObserver Sep 15, 2019 09:00 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Um, its not Google or Waze per se, it's all GPS systems. Traffic on the 154 should be restricted. No through truck traffic, no bus traffic and no one over 70 in a Prius or a rental Mustang convertible. :-)

CoastWatch Sep 15, 2019 07:57 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

I've been driving this road regular basis for over 30 yrs. Most recently I am on a motorcycle that rides up high. I can honestly tell you that most errant drivers are in rental cars or texting drivers- the regular commuters know the dangers of the road (above mentioned drivers) and drive defensively.

tagdes Sep 15, 2019 07:50 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Bar code on the windshield, Chrysler 200 and Germans in a new Mustang* convertible are also giveaways. *Since I speak a little of my ancestors native tongue I always oblige them by taking their photo with the top down at the Hendry's overlook.

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