Ongoing Investigations Into Forklift Crash That Killed Orcutt Woman

Intersection of Skyway Drive and Hangar Street (Google Maps)

Authorities are conducting multiple ongoing investigations into a fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a heavy-duty forklift that took place near the Santa Maria Public Airport. The incident occurred at the intersection of Hangar Street and Skyway Drive on May 2, resulting in the death of a woman and injuries to her father.

The victim, identified as 39-year-old Tiffany Ann Peterson from Orcutt, was pronounced dead at the scene after the truck driven by her father, Charles Peterson, collided with the heavy-duty prongs of a Caterpillar telehandler, also known as a telescoping forklift.

The forklift, operated by 81-year-old David Baskett, a member of the Santa Maria Public Airport District board of directors, was preparing to enter Skyway Drive.

As the investigations continue, the Santa Maria Police Department Traffic Bureau is analyzing the crash, which took place near the airport. Additionally, the Santa Maria Public Airport District is conducting its own investigation and has temporarily suspended Baskett’s access to the airfield.

Amidst the ongoing investigations, the Santa Maria Public Airport District has emphasized that it does not appear any district equipment was involved in the tragic incident, and they state that Baskett was not acting in any official capacity as a board member.

Following the crash, Baskett had said he would not immediately step down from his elected posts, he does not believe he caused the crash, and was in “full compliance with the rules,” reports the Santa Maria Times.

The community has shown support for the Peterson family through a GoFundMe campaign.

“The pain Tiffany’s family is feeling is beyond comprehension. To enable the family to concentrate on grieving and adjusting to life without their cherished daughter, we are asking for donations to help them in the coming days and months,” the fundraiser states.

The investigation is ongoing.

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