Southbound 101 is closed in Santa Barbara at Castillo Street this morning, due to a crash at 12:45 a.m. involving at least two cars that killed three people and sent another to the hospital. Traffic is being diverted onto the Castillo Street offramp and then right back on the freeway. Major delays are expected for morning commuters and, as of 7:52 a.m., there is no estimated time for the freeway to be re-opened.
According to a report issued by the California Highway Patrol on Monday morning, a red 2005 Mazda was was heading south when the driver veered to the right near the Castillo Street interchange, smashed into the guardrail, and flipped the vehicle, which stopped in the middle of the freeway. Then a white 2013 Ford Mustang hit the Mazda, ejecting two Mazda passengers.
The driver of the Mustang, 52-year-old Kimberly A. Kreis, of Santa Barbara, was arrested for driving under the influence. The investigation is ongoing, but currently three people are dead and a fourth is in critical condition.
According to information available on Facebook, a middle-aged woman by the name of Kimberly A. Kreis lists her current work as being a receptionist at the Santa Barbara News-Press. The newspaper’s front desk receptionist, when asked for Kimberly Kreis, started to look her up in the company directory, and then explained she no longer worked there. Sources who do not want to be identified strongly believe that this is the same woman, and that Kreis was recently let go after missing some shifts, prior to the incident.
The paper’s news director Don Katich explained, “Ms. Kreis is not a News-Press employee. Her Facebook page is not current.” He later explained that she had been terminated a month earlier.