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Dungan Intentionally Hit Oncoming Car, CHP Believes

Investigation and Witness Statements Indicate Purposeful Killing in Highway 154 Car Crash

John Dungan | Credit: SBSO

Saying three innocent people were killed, CHP Captain Cindy Pontes announced on Thursday that the evidence gathered and the witness statements indicated John Dungan intentionally drove his car into the one being driven by Rebecca Vanessa Goss Bley. She and her two children, Lucienne, age 2, and Desmond, age four months, were killed in the crash on State Route 154 on October 25 at 4:45 p.m., when Dungan swerved into the oncoming lane. A third car then rear-ended Bley’s vehicle. Pontes said they believed Dungan intended to do harm, but she could not comment on his mental state. The District Attorney’s Office filed three counts of murder against Dungan yesterday.

Photo: Jean YamamuraBefore announcing her investigators believe John Dungan intentionally turned his car into oncoming traffic in the tragic Highway 154 crash, CHP Capt. Cindy Pontes talks with Supervisor Joan Hartmann, who came to show her support.

Pontes said she waited on her announcement, wanting to first apprise Bley’s husband, Solvang artist Max Gleason, who requested privacy on their conversation. Pontes said her investigators continued to work the case, seeking “justice for our victims and their families.” She also thanked those who had assisted at the chaotic scene, which was just east of the Cold Spring Bridge, including “heroic efforts” of civilians who had stopped to try to help as the burning car ignited a two-acre brush fire. “It’s always very challenging any time children are involved,” she said.

Dungan had been released from the hospital on Tuesday and booked into County Jail, where he remains. Dungan’s bail, Pontes said, had been changed from $2 million to no bail. Toxicology results were pending. The victims did not appear to be known to him, she said, based on evidence gathered from his home and other places.

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