Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash title=
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash
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Chevy Volt and GMC Yukon following the collision (Photo: Mike Eliason / SBCFD)

By edhat staff

A disturbing history has been revealed of the survivor in the Highway 154 collision that killed a woman and two children on Friday.

On October 25 around 4:45 p.m., a 2014 Chevy Camaro driven by 28-year-old John Roderick Dungan was traveling westbound on Highway 154 approaching the Cold Spring Bridge. The Camaro traveled into the eastbound lane for "unknown reasons" and struck a Chevy Volt driven by Rebecca Vanessa Goss Bley, 34, with two young children in the backseat. A GMC Yukon behind the Volt collided with Bley's vehicle where they both ended off the roadway and caught fire, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

Bley and the two children were pronounced dead on the scene while Dungan was extricated from his vehicle and flown to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with severe injuries.

Rebecca Vanessa Goss Bley (Photo: Facebook)

The Independent released a detailed history of Dungan including charges of stalking an ex-girlfriend, gun possession, and severe mental illness with an involuntary stay at a psychiatric hospital.

Santa Barbara authorities received information that Dungan was suicidal and homicidal on Friday, October 25. Minutes before they arrived at his home for a welfare check, they were notified of the Highway 154 collision, reports Tyler Hayden of The Independent.

Authorities have not yet determined if this collision was accidental or intentional. 

The Independent uncovered a series of mental health checks on Dungan including one this past February after he expressed suicidal ideation. Officials found numerous guns, armor plating in his Camaro, and $40,000 in cash which he stated is due to his professional poker playing.

John Roderick Dungan (Photo: Facebook)

Dungan was subsequently placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold and had his weapons confiscated before being transferred to a psychiatric facility in Southern California where he was diagnosed with major depressive disorder with severe psychotic symptoms.

Two ex-girlfriends stated they were scared of Dungan and where one took out a restraining order where he was charged with felony stalking. The full article can be read here.

Law enforcement has yet to release any further information on Dungan's current status or charges in this incident. 

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 October 25, 2019: Triple Fatal Collision Closes Highway 154, Sparks Wildfire

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SBTownie Oct 29, 2019 03:23 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

I don't know anything about his family or the enablers around him - but it is extremely hard to get treatment for people who do not want it. There are thousands of families desperate for their loved ones to receive help, but if the individuals don't want it, even extreme behavior is rarely viewed as substantial enough to compel any kind of treatment or incarceration.

a-1572388647 Oct 29, 2019 03:37 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

You don't understand. I have been through the mental health system in Santa Barbara. There isn't much they can do to detain someone but releasing someone after a 5150 given his past history and with a dose of medication that is not effective in 2 days is really CRIMINAL on the part of the mental health system. Dr. Lee is a very good psychiatrist but there isn't much that she could do in Santa Barbara if he was taken to Pasadena. He should have been put on a 5250 hold or even a 30 day hold (the maximum they can hold someone) given his previous history with the law and cache of weapons. The enabler in this case is the mental health system in Santa Barbara County if not in the whole of California.

giftedinSB Oct 29, 2019 04:16 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

Along those lines, placing someone on an involuntary hold (5150) is a lot more difficult than you might think. I used to work in mental health, and we once had a client who was destabilizing for MONTHS before the crisis team would do anything about it. There was one time the crisis team went out for an evaluation and denied the hold because the client was sleeping. It was another 2 months before the client was finally 5150'ed. That was WITH the client having daily visits/services. I don't know if Dungan was connected to services or not, but he also might be able to play the game and act like everything is fine. I'm interested to learn more details as they unfold.

a-1572387750 Oct 29, 2019 03:22 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

I agree that as much as we already knew most of this from speculation - how did his mental health records get released? I could understand if they were subpoenaed at his trial but not less than a week after his accident. Now that I know all this, I want to know how he was released in 2 days with 10 mg of Lexapro that takes up to 6 weeks to reach an effective dose? FYI: This Pasadena facility is where they ship you if the 11 beds in PHF (Psychiatric Hold Facilty) in SB is full. The closest facility is Pasadena.

Alexblue Oct 30, 2019 12:17 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

POG--Yeah, sadly for the mom and kids he probably acted in the moment to kill himself. Fortunately for possibly many potential victims, he didn't plan and execute a mass shooting in downtown Santa Barbara--or in the poker room at the Chumash where you probably waste a lot of your time.

a-1572388884 Oct 29, 2019 03:41 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

Folks! Just because he was "suicidal," doesn't mean he intentionally hit her car head on. He could have been recklessly changing lanes. We won't know until he speaks up or witnesses testify to his car's movements. PLEASE avoid the temptation to "solve" this based on news reports.

a-1572389372 Oct 29, 2019 03:49 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

While I totally agree with you I have to remind you that what you want to restrict is the entire purpose of participating in the comments section here on Edhat. Speculation is the name of the game.

sectionone Oct 29, 2019 06:52 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

My speculation is he wanted to fly off the mountain to the left of the bridge and the only way to do that is to cross the line. He never braked and kept on the gas which is why his vehicle is 400 feet past the other two.

Fitness1 Oct 29, 2019 03:50 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

What a complete tragedy on every level. The loss of such a beautiful woman and her children breaks my heart. Now this man's family, and his doctors, have to live with the knowledge that this never had to happen. Our mental health system is completely broken.

Fitness1 Oct 29, 2019 05:19 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

At 4;28, not saying the doctor's are to blame directly, but I would think if you released a patient and later learned of this, it would haunt you, personally and professionally. You'd always wonder what you could have done differently. Hindsight can be an awful thing.

humungous Oct 29, 2019 03:53 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

Horrible tragedy no matter the state of mind of the "survivor." I do agree that the Independent and Edhat may be in violation of federal law here for releasing mental health information. Let's see what explanation is given.

a-1572390636 Oct 29, 2019 04:10 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

HUMUNGOUS - I agree. This is pretty slimy "reporting" on the Independent's part and it's doing nothing but fueling arm chair "detectives" who are making a mockery of this horrible and tragic incident.

CS805 Oct 29, 2019 04:28 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

Doubtful. Journalists aren't a party to HIPPA requirements. The person who gave that information to a journalist might be. Ethics you can debate all you want but nothing to do with federal, state, or local laws.

a-1572393673 Oct 29, 2019 05:01 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

I'm not bashing journalism in general, but Independent isn't a good example to look up to. And that journalist in particular. Juicy stuff is what's most important there. Ethics and innocent until proven guilty? None comes to Tyler Madden's mind.

a-1572395088 Oct 29, 2019 05:24 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

A little distraction from the topic, but it is notable Peter Lance, another journalist, had a feud with Tyler Hayden of this Independent article. It appears it originated from Independent under-reported a case involving police DUI and police officer's false reporting of another. http://peterlance.com/wordpress/?p=9857
As it seems, someone got cozy with the law enforcement for the juicy stuff, he couldn't control the urge to spit it out there regardless of ethics or truth, and maybe in return gives a hands-off on reporting their misdeeds. Nice. use your own judgement and compass.

a-1572394559 Oct 29, 2019 05:15 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

Good on Hayden and The Independent. People should know about all of this. It's not only news, it's educational. We need more and better laws to protect us from suicidal and homicidal individuals. The system that allows these mentally ill persons to walk amongst us, while stalking and making verbal and written threats to others is not a healthy, vigilant system. For pity's sake. This guy was TELLING people he wanted to harm himself and others. Shades of Elliot Rodger. Thank gawd Dungan's weapons were confiscated. All that's missing is The Manifesto.

a-1572396214 Oct 29, 2019 05:43 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

You are jumping to conclusion. What happened is a total tragedy. No doubt. But I do see a difference from how it happened, and whether it was related to his mental state. Independent and Hayden don't look like the one we can count on.

a-1572396891 Oct 29, 2019 05:54 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

This makes me very concerned about the privacy of my mental health records. I have no criminal history, guns, violence, manifesto, or record of wishing harm to others but the same agency that leaked his info has mine. Leaking mine could lead to me losing my job which in turn could cause me to lose my housing and ability to be a productive part of society. This sets a dangerous precedent of tabloid journalism.

SBTownie Oct 29, 2019 09:15 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

@5:54 I am not aware of your exact circumstances but it is fully against the law to discriminate for medical reasons including on the grounds of mental illness. I understand your fear of losing your job, however your employer is not able to terminate you based on whatever mental illness you do or do not have.

a-1572454444 Oct 30, 2019 09:54 AM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

@sbtownie: 391 here. Yes they could terminate me as I am still in my probationary period. Although they could never say that was why they don't need a reason to terminate me in the state of California. While I am generally very open with my mental health to encourage others like me seek help and use resources - I have found no empathy in the workplace. I am most disturbed that his exact medication was disclosed. I am not staying up at night worrying about this but those that relish this public disclosure of his mental health record should think about those (like me) whose release of mental health records could damage their progress.

seahorse Oct 29, 2019 06:14 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

According to one of his ex girlfriends he was psychotic when she dated him. He apparently had an established psychotic disorder yet was released with a prescription for an antidepressant. It’s important to distinguish between the seriously mentally ill who are undergoing effective treatment for their psychosis and the ones who are unmedicated with antipsychotics. Successfully treated people with schizophrenia can be highly functional and easily “walk among us”. However unmedicated people experiencing psychosis are a greater danger to themselves and others than the general population. It’s unfair to paint all mentally ill people with the same brush.

a-1572429722 Oct 30, 2019 03:02 AM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

The armor plating in his car was "sewn into the seat and headrest," which would do absolutely nothing to protect him in a head-on crash. My guess is he had the plating installed in case he was fired upon by law enforcement á la Elliot Rodger.

Seabird Oct 29, 2019 07:56 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

HIPAA only applies to covered health entities, not to journalists or to the general public who are not involved in someone's care in some way. If these are the facts, they are fair game to the Independent, Edhat, whoever else chooses to publish them. Now, whatever health employee gave this protected information to the press is a different story. Someone is in deeeeeeep trouble. In addition to John Dungan for triple murder. I hope he lives a long, tortured, miserable life.

Alexblue Oct 30, 2019 12:14 PM
Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Crash

Yeah, it's horrible and I feel for the parents of anyone who is so totally screwed up. Sadly, it would obviously be better for the world and for John if he takes a long walk in to the light.

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