WEATHER »

Coroner Releases Toxicology Results in Highway 154 Deaths

Two Women Killed December 21 near Rancho San Marcos Golf Course


The two women hit and killed during a strange and tragic series of incidents on Highway 154 last month were under the influence of multiple drugs, a toxicology report shows. Though the Santa Barbara coroner’s findings were recently made public, Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Mark Williams stressed in a prepared statement: “Please keep in mind that the [information] is not the official cause of death, but rather just what we found in their systems.”

The women — 54-year-old Sara Ornelas of Santa Barbara and 49-year-old Barbara Romero of Lompoc — were driving to the Chumash Casino at around 11:45 p.m. on December 21 when they pulled over to relieve themselves on the side of the road near the Rancho San Marcos Golf Course. Once they stopped, however, a small dog jumped out of the car and ran into traffic. One of the women gave chase, but both she and the dog were killed by oncoming cars. The other woman attempted to help her friend and was also fatally struck. The two were declared dead at the scene.

According to the coroner’s report, Ornelas had methadone, codeine, and morphine in her system. Romero, it said, had amphetamine, methamphetamine, methadone, and morphine in hers. The report notes that the morphine in both cases could be a product of the the women’s bodies metabolizing heroin or codeine, or it could be pharmaceutical morphine.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

Plastic Bags? Throw ‘Em Away

Santa Barbara County makes recycling rules tougher in face of exacting standards.

UCSB Ranked Number Three in UC System

Cal and UCLA took the one and two spots.

Pini Property Fights Continue

As an epic attorney battle continues in the Dario Pini receivership, a tenant is getting fed up.

MTD Takes Stand Against Prop. 6

The bus company is concerned about the state funding it relies upon.

County Half-Jokes It Wants Cannabis ‘World Domination’

A government executive implores growers to get legal before time runs out.