John Dungan Convicted of Second-Degree Murder in Fatal Highway 154 Collision

John Dungan Convicted of Second-Degree Murder in Fatal Highway 154 Collision title=
John Roderick Dungan (courtesy Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office)
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Source: Santa Barbara County District Attorney

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that John Roderick Dungan was convicted by a jury of three counts of second-degree murder in the killings of Vanessa Bley and her two small children, Lucienne and Desmond. 

This verdict comes after six weeks of testimony, led by Deputy District Attorneys Stephen F. Wagner and Megan Chanda.  Witnesses included first responders, civilian witnesses who stopped on Hwy 154 to assist the victims, as well in-depth expert testimony regarding the causation and dynamics of the collision.

The murders occurred in the late afternoon of October 25, 2019.  Dungan drove his Chevy Camaro through Vanessa’s Chevy Volt near the Cold Spring Bridge at 119 mph, killing all three victims instantaneously.   

District Attorney Joyce Dudley stated, “These verdicts and this level of justice for the victims would not have been possible without the hard work of California Highway Patrol Sergeant Matthew Marien and Investigator Jeffrey Clements, among many other dedicated law enforcement officers. In addition, Supervising Victim Advocate Rita McGaw provided much needed support for the surviving family members throughout the process. Finally, Prosecutors Stephen Wagner and Megan Chanda were exemplary in their efforts to seek Justice for these victims, their loved ones and our community at large.”

The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Thomas Adams on September 28, 2022, in Department 1 of the Santa Barbara Superior Court.

The defendant faces 45 years to life in prison.


 November 21, 2019: Driver Pleads Not Guilty in Triple Fatal Collision

 November 7, 2019: Driver Intentionally Crashes into Family, CHP States

 October 29, 2019: Disturbing History of Survivor in Fatal Highway 154 Collision

 October 27, 2019: Solvang Woman Identified in Fatal Highway 154 Collision

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

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