Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

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Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision
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Sofia Nichole Koch (Photo: Santa Barbara Police Department)

By edhat staff

A Santa Barbara teenager has been arrested for DUI, vehicle theft, and other crimes from a vehicle collision on the Mesa earlier this month.

Sofia Nichole Koch, a 19-year-old nanny, turned herself in to the Santa Barbara Police Department accompanied by her attorney on Wednesday. 

Initial reports state Koch allegedly took a vehicle from a gathering on May 7. Around 1:00 a.m., Santa Barbara Police responded to a collision in the 1500 Block of Cliff Drive that involved a serious injury from a moving vehicle colliding with two parked cars.

A 2020 Range Rover was traveling east on Cliff Drive at a very high rate of speed when it clipped a parked Volvo wagon then careened into a parked Scion sedan.

The velocity of the Range Rover caused the Scion to be hurled 160 feet down the road from where it was parked. The Range Rover then rolled, struck several trees and a concrete retaining wall.  The Range Rover's roof separated from the vehicle completely and was ejected down the road. The debris field spanned over 1,300 feet.

Scenes from the May 7 collision (Photo: Santa Barbara Police Department)

Koch, the driver, and her female passenger, 20-year-old Maesyn Fitzgibbons of Santa Barbara, were extricated from the Land Rover by first responders. Both sustained major injuries. They were transported by ambulance to Cottage Hospital.

Fitzgibbons sustained severe injuries including a broken sacrum, multiple breaks in the pelvis, and amputation of her left leg from the shin down. She's recovering at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

A GoFund Me fundraising account has been created to raise money for Fitzgibbon's medical expenses.

Koch has been officially charged with driving under the influence and causing great bodily injury as well as excessive speed, vehicle theft/joyriding, driving without a license, and refusing to take a blood-alcohol test. 

She remains in custody at the Santa Barbara Jail on $100,000 bail.

Related Articles

 May 7, 2020: Multi Vehicle Collision on Cliff Drive

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Ryan93105 May 22, 2020 04:04 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

Will she do the "Y" pose (arms up and out) entering the jail that girls do when they travel to a new place? Hopefully there's more than a sliver of sunshine going through her cell window so she can do the heart-hands formation.

Get over it May 22, 2020 08:07 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

Rodger... You're right that Midair nailed it. I would think you might have some empathy having been in those shoes, sort of. I'm sure it's a trigger for you and it's definitely showing. Curious, did you do 15 years, as you suggested? If not, is it because you're a privileged white man living in Santa Barbara, so you must be wealthy and have family influence. right? Yeah, don't judge a book bro. I have no Idea a single thing about her besides what I have just read and none about you, besides what you've posted. I wouldn't base my opinion on anyone on their photo.

Roger May 22, 2020 05:54 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

MIDAIR is Exactly Right more people ought to consider this and I speak from the mouth of a Horses ass I have done it too...Girlfriends little brother through a windshield of a vehicle I took without permission I hit a cop car in a pursuit Apirl 3rd 1979 doing 106mph that kid was in intensive care 3 days he damn near died. It took a few more crashes to learn my lesson...So many years later people are still doing stupid shit.

a-1590184336 May 22, 2020 02:52 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

Oh man, hurts my guts! Her passenger was also culpable here, no way that she didn't know that the driver was intoxicated and joyriding, etc. A couple of young ladies made some disastrous decisions that will forever impact their lives. So sad! I'm grateful that they didn't harm anyone else, it allows me to feel sad for the both of them.

Thomas John May 23, 2020 07:45 AM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

Trivial correction - but the 'suicide seat' is the one directly behind the front passenger. The front passenger seat is known as the 'shotgun' seat from old stagecoach days. Hence the sad play of words for the one behind the shotgun.....

mtndriver May 22, 2020 07:51 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

Poster at 3:05--I remember that the front passenger seat in a car used to be called the "suicide seat"--I think that was before airbags and seatbelt laws. May it was the steering column that made the difference back then. Now the airbag deploys from the steering wheel, so that provides a lot of protection. But the passenger in this car apparently had a foot up on the dashboard. In a head-on collision, that is a serious problem. Both these girls will be experiencing the consequences of their choices that night for the rest of their lives. So glad they didn't harm anyone else. Such a waste.

a-1590193446 May 22, 2020 05:24 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

These girls were underage drinkers. I have zero sympathy for kids who think it's okay to break the law and get s--t-faced drunk at parties or elsewhere. I remember being 19. Peer pressure is enormous, but that doesn't give you a free pass to be stupid. I had a 19-year-old female tenant (SBCC student) who had only lived at my place for about a month, when she was brought home from I.V. one night, drunk off her ass and stumbling around, slurring her words. (I posted about this on Edhat a couple years ago.) I was surprised she could remember her address, she was that drunk. She was brought home by a complete stranger, a good samaritan female. I never told the parents and hoped the girl had learned a good lesson. Just a few months back, I went outside and caught this same tenant entertaining guests with beer and wine. There were a couple boys who didn't even look 18. I shut that down and gave the tenant a "Don't do that again" talk. She was several months shy of her 21st B-day. If any one of those kids had injured someone while being DUI and having left my property drunk, I could've been held criminally responsible: liable for contributing to the deliquency of a minor, causing reckless endangerment, who knows what. A short while later, when the opportunity arose, I included in an email to the parents of my tenant that their darling sweet girl had been underage drinking and encouraging others to do the same. (I didn't mention the earlier incident where she was brought home in a drunken stupor.) The parents never showed any concern over her drinking and didn't even acknowledge my concern. Yes, I blame the parents; up to a point. But ----- again ------ I remember being 19. It was my choice NOT to drink. My friends were constantly on my case about it, but I chose not to be an idiot.

a-1590190267 May 22, 2020 04:31 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

Agree with 2:57. No way passenger didn’t know her friend was drunk and that they were getting into a car that didn’t belong to them. Her injuries are extremely unfortunate but her morals are deeply questionable. For anyone who wants to ask if I ever made stupid decisions as a person her age. Yes, but only about 1/1000 as stupid as this.

a-1590185149 May 22, 2020 03:05 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

That's how it seems to work! Always makes me wonder if the steering column provides the driver with extra life saving protection that passengers don't get? Just the fact that they are alive impresses me and reading the most recent post from her mom on GoFundMe made me cry, I can't imagine how all of it would feel if it was MY kid, if either of them was MY kid. A series of horrible choices. Normally I'm not sympathetic about the driver in these situations but I really am for the driver this time, she's just a baby too.

a-1590184662 May 22, 2020 02:57 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

I agree. Both culpable for a bad decision. Sad the friend bears the brunt w life changing injuries. Columbia and pre med tainted w an irresponsible drunken joy ride in a stolen vehicle. The whole thing very sad.

a-1590179407 May 22, 2020 01:30 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

How terrible. My family and I extend our best wishes for the speedy recovery of the young girl who now faces the inexorably painful reality and life challenges due to loss of limb. May she heal well and stay strong.

Surfgooose May 22, 2020 12:34 PM
Teen Arrested for DUI and Vehicle Theft in Mesa Collision

she dodged a major bullet by not killing her passenger or an innocent person on the road. i really hope she can channel tragic night and resulting lifetime of consequences into structuring her life to giving back to people less fortunate her. growing up in santa barbara makes your personal problems trivial to the rest of the world no matter how bad you might believe you have it. there's still a billion people on earth whose main concern is obtaining clean drinking water each day.


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