A two-day search for a 31-year-old man ended with the discovery of his car, upside-down several hundred feet down a cliff on Hollister Ranch. Samuel Apple Mott had left the family home around 2 a.m. on April 23, driving a 2017 Aston Martin. At 1:30 a.m. on April 25, members of the California Highway Patrol and Santa Barbara County Fire responded to a call that Mott’s mother had discovered the accident scene.

The investigation is ongoing, Officer Kevin McCool with the Buellton CHP office said, but the vehicle had apparently launched off the side of Hollister Ranch Road, west of La Posada Road, at an unknown rate of speed. It was found 300-500 feet down a cliff cut by a streambed and was not visible from the road. It appeared to be a single-vehicle accident, Mc Cool said, and the damage indicated it had not rolled but had “spun” and landed on its roof. At the time of the accident, Mott had been on an errand to take cookies to the guard at the Hollister Ranch gate, the investigator on scene had reported.

According to the Stewart R. Mott Foundation, Sam Mott was the only child of Kappy Wells and Stewart Rawlings Mott, who died in 2008, and the nephew of Maryanne Mott of Montecito. The family has a long history of supporting progressive and environmental causes through their philanthropy. His grandfather, Charles Mott, was General Motors’ largest stockholder.

As part of the investigation, said McCool, the Buellton CHP’s automobile technician will try to download information on Wednesday from the Aston Martin to provide more information about the crash.


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