A Santa Barbara man died when a van he was driving struck a large tree just off southbound Highway 101 north of State Street Wednesday.
According to witnesses, the full-size Ford van driven by Kenneth Wienke, 60, was traveling normally at 60 to 65 miles per hour in the slow lane just after 5:30 p.m. when it veered off the roadway and struck a large tree off of the shoulder. The front center of the van hit the tree head-on, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A Cal Fire Strike Team traveling on Highway 101 stopped almost immediately after to provide aide, but the driver, the only occupant of the van, was declared dead at the scene. CHP officers confirmed Wienke was wearing his seatbelt, and no other vehicles were involved.