A truck driving southbound on northbound Highway 101 is causing major traffic backups for commuters this morning, and the resulting congestion is spilling onto streets throughout Santa Barbara. Just before 9:30 a.m., however, one northbound lane was finally opened.
The trouble started at about 6 a.m., when the California Highway Patrol got a call that a pick-up truck was driving the wrong direction on the 101 near Glen Annie Road in Goleta. The vehicle was initially described as a white Verizon truck, according to the CHP. Ten minutes later, a collision occurred near El Sueno, killing one person, who was reportedly driving a white van. Six vehicles were involved in the collision, with three cars appearing to have serious damage, according to witnesses. According to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki, the truck got on the highway at Winchester Canyon.
Two people were left with moderate injuries and three with minor injuries. It took fire personnel more than an hour to extricate one of the victims.
Traffic is being routed off the highway at the State Street/Highway 154 exit, and back on the 101 at El Sueno, but remains very slow moving for many drivers. Other side streets, including La Cumbre, Arrellaga, Modoc, State, and Foothill, are moving at a snail’s pace.
CHP is currently working on opening the other lanes.
Southbound traffic was backed up to at least Turnpike with looky-loos, while some traveling northbound reported moving two miles in more than an hour.
All traffic lanes on Highway 101 are now open, according to CHP. The reason the pick-up was traveling the wrong direction is still under investigation.