On Sunday just before midnight a vehicle containing five occupants crashed into the concrete center of the roundabout on Milpas Street following an alleged hit-and-run. The driver, traveling at a high speed, apparently failed to see the roundabout in time. He attempted to stop, skidding almost the length of an entire football field, authorities say, before crashing. An on-duty Santa Barbara police officer observed the accident when exiting a nearby store; he immediately alerted first responders and requested the Santa Barbara Fire Department’s ‘jaws of life.’
Two female passengers were able to escape the wreckage of a Kia while three males “remained trapped inside and needed to be extricated from the carnage,” said the Police Department press release. All five were taken to Cottage Hospital with serious injuries.
Police believe that drugs and alcohol might be a factor in this multiple-injury collision. The Kia had been headed southbound on Milpas, followed by a driver in another car, who told officers his car had been struck by the Kia. The driver of the Kia, 23-year-old Joseph David Hernandez, already on probation for an earlier DUI conviction, faces charges related to hit-and-run, drug possession, driving with a suspended license, drunk driving, and violating his probation. He remained in the hospital on Monday, and would be booked on $100,000 bail once well enough to be taken to County Jail.