Montecito Woman Killed by ‘Runaway’ Car

Driver Told Police His Vehicle’s Steering and Brakes Failed

A Montecito woman was struck and killed by a car yesterday morning, May 27, as she walked to her bus stop on Coast Village Road. According to a report issued by police spokesperson Lt. Paul McCaffrey, emergency crews found 47-year-old Florinda Garcia Flores in critical condition at the scene of the accident and immediately transported her to the Cottage Hospital Emergency Room. She died soon after.

Flores had reportedly been walking westbound on Coast Village road at around 7:30 a.m. when a 1995 Toyota Previa minivan — driven by a 17-year-old local male — approached her from behind. The driver told police his car had started to veer uncontrollably to the right and that he tried unsuccessfully to apply the brakes. In an attempt to stop his car, the driver said, he hit the curb, but wound up jumping it and striking Flores.

The force of impact, said McCaffrey, threw the victim a considerable distance and she landed in the intersection of Coast Village Road and Butterfly Lane. The driver’s car then continued across a parking lot, coming to rest against the Bank of America building at 1096 Coast Village Road, but not before taking out a sign post, some landscaping, and a decorative brick wall.

Immediately after the accident, the driver — who was cooperative with police and provided a voluntary blood sample — was determined not to be under the influence of any controlled substance. However, in his press release, McCaffrey noted that marijuana and paraphernalia was found inside the vehicle.

The driver was cited and released to his parents. As part of the ongoing investigation, the car was impounded to determine the condition of the steering, brakes, and other major systems.

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