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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PitMix Sep 17, 2019 08:52 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Police and custody officers have all kinds of personal problems from the stress of their jobs. When you think about it, dealing with criminals and people who are victims of crimes is not a great uplifting job. It isn't a surprise when some of them drink excessively and then drive. Not condoning it, just saying it is a fact.

Factotum Sep 16, 2019 04:43 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

What does Javier Antunez cost taxpayers: $214,513 in 2017 Custody Sergeant (2017) Regular pay: $75,939.00 Overtime pay: $30,096.00 Other pay: $11,703.00 Total pay: $117,738.00 Benefits: $96,775.00 Total pay & benefits: $214,513.00 ( Source: Transparent California)

Bird Sep 17, 2019 10:04 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

The important question is, Is it accurate? From those (a few, compared with the whole) I know, it is accurate. Other questions are: do we, the citizens of California have a right to know what our public employees are being paid? Absolutely, yes! imho, not a public employee. If it is not accurate is there a way to correct it? Not that I have seen. Seems to me that being a _public_ employee comes with/should come with public scrutiny. Many or most work hard but so do comparable private employees --- and our (the public's) employees are paid way, way, way better in both salaries and benefits and retirements. If they don't like the scrutiny, then there is an easy solution: quit! Very, very, very few of them are irreplaceable. ...And as for the funding for Transparent California, if my fellow liberals don't like the sourcing, then they should produce an alternative Transparent California, maybe called California Openness or some such title. Seems to me that transparency in government is worthy, no matter who supports it, but there does need to be a way for errors to be corrected.

PitMix Sep 17, 2019 08:47 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

I know someone in that database and the numbers are pretty close. Sometimes the extra pay is not really pay because the agency gives money for medical insurance and then takes it back to pay for the premium. So that inflates the salary but is not really income that the worker sees.

macpuzl Sep 16, 2019 05:15 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Consider the source. "Transparent California" is just one of the many names used by the tax-exempt "free-market think tank" Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI). NPRI refuses to provide its own funding sources, stating, “NPRI respects the privacy of our donors, which includes the amount of a donor’s gift”. NPRI's primary funding source, as determined by The Conservative Transparency Project, is Donors Capital Fund, a dark-money source of funding for conservative groups. Its donors also include The Cato Institute, co-founded by the Koch brothers, and organizations affiliated with the climate change denial movement. NPRI spends 75% of its revenue on six-figure salaries and benefits. Its goal is to undermine support for employee unions nationwide, thereby decreasing salaries and increasing corporate profits.

MountainMan4865 Sep 16, 2019 04:42 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

When we moved to the Mountain in the 80's - 154 was already designated as one of the top ten most dangerous roads in the U.S. I'm not sure why every accident is a surprise. Unavoidable? Absolutely. I think the human factor plays a substantial role. On the straight-away roads and highways, a lot of those factors are mitigated, but throw a windy mountain road with a decent speed limit amplifies those factors 10 fold. I always thought piling the totaled vehicles on either end of the 154, along with some sort of statistic: number accidents, number of deaths for the year, might have a little more impact than a speed limit sign and a reminder to turn your headlights on. Might also provide more information than the GPS system directing people onto the 154.

TheMole Sep 17, 2019 06:31 PM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

His passenger is a county employee, a Supervising Probation Officer and it was HER car he crashed so she gave him the keys. This woman sentences people and gives them jail/prison time. She should get a taste of her own medicine!

a-1571565694 Sep 17, 2019 10:09 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

I agree. I have long thought there should be interactive signs along 154: x accidents, y deaths (and the current and prior year.) Maybe just one year so as not to have too many distractions. This one is outrageous --- not least because there is no question about who was driving, about the impairment, yet he is on (paid) administrative leave until? This guy is 20-year-employee: he can leave admin. leave with a fat pension. His passenger must have known....

a-1571565694 Sep 16, 2019 11:24 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

As per Noozhawk: "The CHP said Sunday that 44-year-old Javier Antunez of Goleta was driving an eastbound BMW with one passenger when the vehicle slammed head-on into a westbound Toyota Tacoma driven by Enrique Calderon-Mendez, 43, of Santa Barbara."--------Antunez was arrested, DUI.

FondofSB Sep 16, 2019 08:32 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Not just on 154 but on any major road (101 included) people follow each other way too closely. This is why the Jeep also slammed in the other cars. There is the "3 second rule" in the driving code : I have never seen anyone, CHP included, even trying to enforce this rule. It would avoid many accident and help greatly to make traffic more fluid and avoid stop and go on the 101.

Concerned4Calif Sep 16, 2019 07:41 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

I drive this road frequently. As odd as it seems its the very slow and scared drivers that create long strings of traffic. Then some one gets impatient and tries to pass the slower vehicles. Adding more passing lanes ( or adding a lane the whole length) is the best solution.

Bird Sep 17, 2019 10:20 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

It is no more a "55 mph zone" than 101 is 65 mph zone! "Speed Limits California has a “Basic Speed Law.” This law means you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions. For example, if you are driving 45 mph in a 55 mph speed zone during a dense fog, you could be cited for driving “too fast for conditions.” You may never legally drive faster than the posted speed limit, even if you think it is safe to do so. Regardless of the posted speed limit, your speed should depend on: The number and speed of other vehicles on the road. ..." From SafeMotorist.com Would there were a way to identify and ticket speeders on 154 the way some bridge users can automatically pay for passage via FastTrak. Maybe something like that could be set up for 154 in various sections that are known to be high speed sections?

Bird Sep 17, 2019 10:33 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

It is no more a "55 mph zone" than 101 is 65 mph zone! "Speed Limits California has a “Basic Speed Law.” This law means you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions. For example, if you are driving 45 mph in a 55 mph speed zone during a dense fog, you could be cited for driving “too fast for conditions.” You may never legally drive faster than the posted speed limit, even if you think it is safe to do so. Regardless of the posted speed limit, your speed should depend on: The number and speed of other vehicles on the road. ..." From SafeMotorist.com Would there were a way to identify and ticket speeders on 154 the way some bridge users can automatically pay for passage via FastTrak. Maybe something like that could be set up for 154 in various sections that are known to be high speed sections?

a-1571565694 Sep 17, 2019 10:47 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

It is no more a "55 mph zone" than 101 is 65 mph zone! "Speed Limits California has a “Basic Speed Law.” This law means you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions. For example, if you are driving 45 mph in a 55 mph speed zone during a dense fog, you could be cited for driving “too fast for conditions.” You may never legally drive faster than the posted speed limit, even if you think it is safe to do so. Regardless of the posted speed limit, your speed should depend on: The number and speed of other vehicles on the road. ..." From SafeMotorist.com Would there were a way to identify and ticket speeders on 154 the way some bridge users can automatically pay for passage via FastTrak. Maybe something like that could be set up for 154 in various sections that are known to be high speed sections?

Alexblue Sep 16, 2019 11:28 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Many places are slower than 55. Turns at 45 and even 35 I believe. People rip through them 25 mph above the posted limit and and tailgate people who are driving the posted limit, creating dangerous situations. Everyone just chill the f out on that road. Leave five minutes earlier.

Red Creek Sep 16, 2019 10:06 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

It would be informative to study who is causing the accidents. Young, old, new drivers, experienced drivers, SUV's, trucks, small cars, local residents familiar with the road, visitors, rental car drivers? So far, trucks, SUV's and younger drivers appear to be in the most collisions.

Red Creek Sep 16, 2019 10:06 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

It would be informative to study who is causing the accidents. Young, old, new drivers, experienced drivers, SUV's, trucks, small cars, local residents familiar with the road, visitors, rental car drivers? So far, trucks, SUV's and younger drivers appear to be in the most collisions.

SantaBarbaraObserver Sep 16, 2019 09:40 AM
Sheriff's Lieutenant Arrested for DUI in Highway 154 Collision

Agree. The biggest hazard on that road are the very slow drivers. Ignoring the traffic flow, ignoring the very basic rule of "move over for faster vehicles", ignoring the lines of cars behind them or the speed limit signs and instead choosing to drive 45. These people are the biggest hazard anyone faces on a 2 lane hwy like the 154. The worst are the old people who do it on purpose. As if they're there to set the standard and enforce the rules! All they do is infuriate people and make everything worse. Another reason we need ability tests on elderly drivers. Many of them are well past the day they should be off the road. Slow reaction times, poor vision, poor hearing, poor muscle control etc. All the very same things we arrest people for at DUI checkpoints.

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