Oxnard Woman Charged with Manslaughter in Fatal Montecito Collision

Fatal vehicle collision on Highway 101 southbound at Olive Mill Road in Montecito on August 13, 2023 (Photo: Montecito Fire Department)

An Oxnard woman is facing a vehicular manslaughter charge connected to a high-speed vehicle crash on Highway 101 in Montecito that killed one person last year, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

Ricki Leigh Newton, 22, of Oxnard is due in Superior Court in Santa Barbara for arraignment on March 15.

The District Attorney’s Office filed the felony complaint on Friday alleging that Newton was driving a Toyota Camry on Highway 101 in excess of 100 mph around 3:00 a.m. on August 13, 2023, when it collided with a Mercury Mountaineer SUV in southbound lanes just before the Olive Mill Road exit.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) report from 2023 stated this is where the three southbound lanes merge into two southbound lanes.

After the collision, CHP stated the SUV crashed down an embankment. Passenger Louis Hernandez Jr., 77, of Santa Paula was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, Virginia Montelongo, 67, of Santa Paula, suffered moderate injuries in the crash and required extrication by firefighters.

SUV involved in a fatal traffic collision on Highway 101 near Montecito on August 13, 2023 (Photo: Montecito Fire Department)

Newton and two passengers insider her Camry sustained minor injuries, according to the CHP report.

The CHP report issued on the same day of the collision stated “the traffic crash is DUI related” and Newton was booked on suspicion of felony DUI. Although the court filing this past Friday did not reference or include any driving under the influence charges.

The gross vehicular manslaughter charge means Newton could face up to six years in state prison.

The complaint can be viewed here.

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August 13, 2023: Fatal Traffic Collision at Olive Mill Exit

Edhat Staff

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