Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan title=
Photo: Santa Barbara County Fire Department
66 Comments
Reads 27588

Update by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office
​2:00 p.m., July 20, 2021

The Coroner's Bureau is releasing the names of the decedents from the vehicle accident on 7/15/21 on Hwy 101 at El Capitan Ranch. The decedents are 52-year-old Maria Sanchez De Bautista and 20-year-old Yazmin Bautista Sanchez, both from Santa Maria.


Update by the California Highway Patrol
4:00 p.m., July 15, 2021

On July 15, 2021, at approximately 7:55 A.M., a fatal traffic collision involving six vehicles occurred on U.S. 101, south of El Capitan State Beach.  The collision occurred when the driver of a Ford Expedition traveling northbound lost control and moved to the left across the #1 lane, through the median, and into the southbound lanes.  Two occupants were pronounced deceased at the scene and four other people involved in the collision were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with injuries.

Prior to the collision, the Expedition was traveling at a speed of approximately 70 miles per hour within the #2 lane.  For reasons unknown to  investigators at this time, the driver lost control of the Expedition and drove it to the left upon the roadway.  The Expedition crossed into the #1 lane and collided with the right front of a Ford F-450 which was traveling to the left of the Expedition within the #1 lane.  The Expedition continued to the left across the #1 northbound lane, through the median that separates the northbound lanes from the southbound lanes, and headed directly for the southbound lanes.  At this time there were multiple vehicles approaching the location traveling southbound within both the #1 and #2 southbound lanes.  The Expedition was propelled into the air as it entered the southbound lanes. The Expedition collided with two vehicles which were traveling within the #1 lane, a Honda Accord and a Dodge Grand Caravan.  The Expedition overturned onto its right side and continued to the left across the #1 lane and into the #2 lane.  A Chevy Bolt, followed by a Toyota Tundra, were both approaching the location traveling southbound within the #2 lane.  The drivers of both the Chevy Bolt and the Toyota Tundra swerved to the right in attempts to avoid the collision.  The Expedition collided with the Chevy within the #2 lane.  Debris from the collision struck the Toyota causing damage to the truck.  The Expedition came to rest disabled on its right side, facing in a southerly direction, partially blocking the #2 lane.  The Dodge came to rest disabled on all four of its tires, facing in a south easterly direction, blocking the southbound lanes. 

Two female passengers in the Expedition sustained major injuries as a result of the collision and were pronounced deceased at the scene by American Medical Response (A.M.R.) personnel.  The other three occupants of the Expedition, including the driver, also sustained injuries as a result of this collision; all three were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, two of them with major injuries.  The driver of the Dodge Caravan was also transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major injuries.  Additionally, all three occupants of the Honda Accord were treated for minor injuries at the scene. 

This collision is still under investigation.  The California Highway Patrol was assisted in this collision investigation by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, and American Medical Response (A.M.R.).


Update by Caltrans
1:00 p.m., July 15, 2021

As of 12:55 p.m. Thursday, the southbound lanes of Highway 101 near El Capitan State Beach are now open.


Update by edhat staff
9:00 a.m., July 15, 2021

A double fatal traffic collision has closed the southbound lanes of Highway 101 near El Capitan State Beach Thursday morning.

Emergency responders arrived south of El Capitan Road at 7:59 a.m. and discovered a two-vehicle collision between a Ford Expedition SUV and Dodge Grand Caravan. 

Extensive extrication was required to reach the occupants of each vehicle.

Two people were pronounced dead on the scene and four others sustained critical injuries. The four patients were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The southbound lanes are current closed with no estimated time for reopening.

California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of this collision.


Photo: SBCFD


Source: Caltrans

Date/Time: Thursday July 15, 2021 at 8:55 AM
 
Location: Southbound US Highway 101 near El Capitan State Beach in Santa Barbara County.

Description of Incident: The southbound lanes of  US 101 are closed near El Capitan State Beach due to an incident involving several vehicles.

Estimated Time of Opening: There is no estimate for re-opening.  A detour is available on Highway 154 and 246.

CHP Traffic Incident Information Page: http://cad.chp.ca.gov
 

Login to add Comments

66 Comments

Show Comments
dw2000 Jul 23, 2021 08:14 AM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

To add, the CHP may have more physical evidence or witness testimony that confirms that Expedition was at fault, but it wasn't presented in the article. But if the only testimony (and if there is no physical evidence to the contrary) is from the F450 saying "I don't know why but he drove into me" (even the the F450 was to the left and behind)... well, there could be some reasonable doubt in court when it comes to convicting someone. I think more than likely the expedition probably changed lanes without fully checking their blind spot. BUT unless I heard/saw more the evidence, I wouldn't be comfortable convicting anyone.

dw2000 Jul 23, 2021 08:09 AM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

PIT, first off I didn't downvote you :) I'll try to explain what I meant... I understand the article said what you quoted. What I meant was that without more information, its hard to know what really happened. It may very well be the case that the Expedition "for reasons unknown" veered into the lane and caused the accident. Perhaps there are witnesses from behind that can attest to that. Perhaps the witness was the F450 and they are telling the truth. But what if the only witness to that is the F450 and (being a wide vehicle) when approaching on the left from behind, clipped the right rear bumper of the expedition? I am not saying this is what happened (or even that it is more likely) just that without more info it was hard to say what really happened. It could be the Expedition went into the left lane and the F450 was in its blind spot... or the Expedition didn't look.

PitMix Jul 19, 2021 11:25 AM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

DW, try reading the story?
"For reasons unknown to investigators at this time, the driver lost control of the Expedition and drove it to the left upon the roadway. The Expedition crossed into the #1 lane and collided with the right front of a Ford F-450 which was traveling to the left of the Expedition within the #1 lane. "
Clearly the blame is on the Expe driver.

PitMix Jul 19, 2021 09:27 AM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

So this guy can cause an accident that kills and injures a bunch of people, and he is not liable? It is an act of god or something?
I've Been driving for more than 40 years, never had a blowout, never had a seizure, never caused an accident, never killed or hurt a person. Only killed 2 birds that I know of. I'm sorry to say I have killed thousands of insects.
It probably helps that I rarely go faster than 65 mph unless I am passing.

a-1626466242 Jul 16, 2021 01:10 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Pit, How do YOU know that he didn't have a mechanical failure or a tire blow out? I drove by that accident in the Northbound lanes not long after it happened and there were obvious skid marks in the Northbound lanes leading to the gouges in the center median. So it is quite possible that something happened that was out of the control of the driver.

SBTownie Jul 16, 2021 12:16 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Sorry Pit do you have some info we don't? I would like to be sure he did not "lose control of the vehicle" due to a medical emergency before I support sending him to the slammer for eternity. I agree if he was on his phone or something, let him have it, but I don't usually view you as one to pile on before we know all the facts.

PitMix Jul 16, 2021 11:51 AM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Please tell me they are going to charge him with vehicular manslaughter. And that his insurance can pay the medical bills and court judgments of the people he injured and killed. I'm not a fan of the harm but no foul approach to traffic enforcement.

bosco Jul 16, 2021 09:23 AM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

The comment section allow for threads, or separate discussions. Sometimes incidents like this trigger certain discussions that may not be directly related but still have value. Even if not directly relevant to this crash an open and honest discussion about our driving habits is not a bad thing. It's surely more valuable than the "that's horrible", or "how tragic" comments which serve no purpose what so ever.

dukemunson Jul 15, 2021 07:46 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

We suck as drivers in this country. In every other country you stay in the right (or yea if it’s opposite side left) lane except to pass. Here we randomly pick a lane and pick whatever speed we want. We employ the same nutty/crazy/bad driving on 154 as well. It’s bad and (too often) tragic.

MMS Jul 15, 2021 06:10 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

BOSCO, I agree; I’ve driven in Europe and the UK extensively. The left lane is a passing lane only. End of story.
I don’t know how this happened, or what exactly happened, but my heart is aching for some local families tonight. This is awful. RIP.

MMS Jul 15, 2021 08:38 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Honestly, it depends on the amount of traffic. Of course, sometimes both lanes are full, but up by El Cap, that’s just not the case. Regular traffic should be to the right, and the left (passing lane) should only be for passing.
I don’t know what happened here, or even if that would have made a difference, but in other countries, you’re expected to be to the right, especially if you’re moving more slowly.

dukemunson Jul 15, 2021 08:31 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

You pass on the left… and then get back in the right lane. For some bizarre reason we’ve decided you can just choose a lane and stay in it, no matter what speed you travel. Pass on the left and then get back in the right lane!!!!

Ahchooo Jul 15, 2021 08:18 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

I don’t doubt what you say about European roads, but how does that work? As I mentioned before, on I5 north of Sacramento there are generally two lanes, with the right traveling a few mph slower than the left. They are all moving forward, and shifting happens, but it’s not a matter of one lane of travel, with the left allowed only for passing.

Byzantium Jul 15, 2021 01:19 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Why are we paying the CHP when they are not patrolling the highways. In fact one rarely even sees them on the highway any longer. Recent trip in this stretch - saw 90mph and lots of weaving in and out with tailgating was pretty typical, and scary. Where was the CHP?

a-1626462906 Jul 16, 2021 12:15 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Chip, I have always thought that those "Slower Traffic Keep Right" signs are saying it wrong. Not all slow drivers think that they are the "Slower" ones being addressed. Back east I recall the signs saying "Keep Right Except To Pass." That is specific and not open to interpretation. But as you say, no matter what the signs say, the CHP has to enforce them to get the message across. They don't have to stop and ticket people but a flashing light and a wave over to the other lane a few times might be educational for those left land cruisers.

JB86 Jul 15, 2021 06:33 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Chip; I don't think that is correct. The number one lane is considered a 'travelling lane.' If you drive on the I-5 between LA and Sacramento, there are so many trucks, most passenger cars, SUV.s etc stay in the number one lane, and CHP is fine with that.

Ahchooo Jul 15, 2021 06:16 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Actually no, I rarely drive freeways, and when I do, I drive well, and generally stay to the right. But I’ve been on Rte 5 north of Sacramento, and it is standard practice for the faster drivers to travel along in the left lane. They don’t keep shifting to the right just in case an even faster car might come along. They shift when the faster car *does* come along.

Chip of SB Jul 15, 2021 04:45 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Achooo, you have it exactly backwards. The law requires that you drive in the right lane, and you should briefly move into the left lane only when you pass someone. You are driving in the left lane, and briefly moving into the right lane to allow people to pass you. I would be willing to bet you get passed on the right a lot.

bosco Jul 15, 2021 03:56 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Achooo, if you've ever driven in Europe you can see this at work. No matter how fast a driver is traveling they always will move over for the faster vehicle. Doesn't matter if you're traveling 90mph, if someone is going 95 you move out of their way. In fact, in Europe and many countries it is illegal to pass on the left. This is why on the autobahn you can have someone going well over 100 mph with other drivers and it mostly works out. American drivers and driver training is well behind in this regard.

That said, there are times when traffic is just moving along at a slower speed due to congestion. In that case, it's the guys (and it's always a guy) weaving through traffic that are putting others at risk so they can go 15 - 20 mph faster than everyone. At that point, it's plain reckless. Sometimes you just have to concede and move along at traffic speed.

Ahchooo Jul 15, 2021 03:53 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Chip, it may depend on how you define “slower.” Say there are two lanes, and the slow lane is poking along at 65, and the left lane is well stocked with cars going 70. All those people going 70 are “slower” in your mind? Because some other guy might come along and want to go even faster? I agree they should move over when they see a faster car coming behind them, but if the fast guy is going 80, and weaves before the 70 guy has a chance to move over… that’s bad driving by the weaver.

sfgac055 Jul 15, 2021 03:52 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Achooo, the guy cruising in the left lane at 73 in a 65 zone should still move to the right if someone is approaching quickly from behind or tailgating. Its not his job to enforce the speed of other drivers, and trying to do so causes the dangerous right lane passing. If you're in the left lane, and not moving at a faster speed than those in the right lanes you shouldn't be in the left lane. Left lane should be used for passing slower moving traffic.

Chip of SB Jul 15, 2021 03:41 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

Achooo, the law specifically requires “slower traffic keep right.” There is no exception if you are traveling 65, or 85 for that matter. Unless you are in the process of passing someone, you should be driving in the right lane. This does require you to be active and engaged as you drive. If you prefer not to change lanes often, then simply slow down and keep right. If you cruise in the left lane, you will cause faster traffic to weave around you and pass on the right.

Ahchooo Jul 15, 2021 03:20 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

You may be right that slower drivers need to stay to the right more than they do, but when there’s a lot of traffic, all the lanes vary in their speeds. I see weaving racers in those conditions, and it’s nothing the other drivers are doing wrong. And what if the guy cruising in the left lane is going 73 in a 65 zone, does he have to move to the slow lane so some other guy can go 80? Yeah sure, move over if you know there’s a speeder who wants to get by, but the guy already going well over the limit doesn’t have to keep shifting over to the slow lane just to accommodate people who might want a clear raceway.

Chip of SB Jul 15, 2021 02:49 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

The weaving is a result of the CHP’s failure to enforce the law requiring slower traffic to keep right. There are black on white signs posted at regular intervals along the freeway that say “Slower Traffic Keep Right” but due to the lack of enforcement most people don’t even realize these signs exist let alone understand what they mean. I would estimate a majority of motorists now cruise in the left lane. As a result, the right lane has become the de-facto passing lane punctuated by slow trucks and entrance ramps. The result is the drive on the left, pass on the right weaving that so many complain about. Enforcing the keep right law would do far more good than enforcing the speed limit. We really need to raise awareness and educate motorists, and an enforcement campaign would go a long way towards eliminating the weaving and making our freeways safer.

bosco Jul 15, 2021 02:45 PM
Identities Released in Double Fatal Traffic Collision at El Capitan

They're out there, but they're predictable and less likely to be found in these remote areas.

I always thought it would be great to have unmarked CHP patrolling the highways with dashcams on. They would be specifically on the lookout for reckless driving (i.e. excessive speeding, racing, weaving, etc.) and not just someone going 5-10 mph over the limit. I'm not sure if that's legal, but people might think twice if every car on the highway could be a CHP.

Pages

Please Login or Register to comment on this.