Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies responded late Sunday evening to a Buellton gas station located on the 200 block of East Highway 246, where a 48-year-old Santa Maria man had reportedly drenched himself and his truck in gasoline and was trying to light a cigarette lighter.
The Buellton deputy sheriff who arrived on scene recognized that the man — who, covered in gasoline, was holding a gas can in one hand and a cigarette lighter in the other — was experiencing a mental health crisis. Through conversation, the deputy convinced the man to move away from the gas pumps and put the lighter in his pocket, as stated in a Sheriff’s Office press release.
With assistance from additional deputies who protected bystanders, the man walked away from the gas pumps and toward the gas station’s parking lot, where deputies safely took him into custody. He will receive mental health evaluation before being released, according to the Sheriff’s Office press release.