Three motorcycle riders went down in three separate incidents last week, all fatal accidents that the Buellton Office of the California Highway Patrol is investigating. Continuing the unsettling trend in motorcycle incidents, a stolen car pursuit today in Carpinteria put a motorcycle CHP officer in the hospital.

On June 28, a maroon Mazda 3 was headed the wrong way on the 101 near La Conchita south of Carpinteria, U-turned at the State Route 150 on-ramp, and ended up causing a three-vehicle accident at around 11:30 a.m. The Mazda had been reported stolen by the time a CHP motorcycle patrol officer saw it headed up the northbound 101. With lights and sirens blazing, the officer on a Harley Davidson pursued the Mazda for two miles when it suddenly braked, causing the officer to brake, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee behind him to run into his bike, plowing it into the Mazda. The officer was flipped off his bike while the Mazda drove across all lanes of traffic, ending up on top of the concrete barrier wall near the Linden Avenue on-ramp. The officer was taken to Cottage Hospital with moderate injuries, while the drivers of the two vehicles suffered minor injuries. The Mazda driver was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle.

In the first of the three fatal central county incidents, 26-year-old Miguel Angel Salas of Lompoc was riding a Kawasaki bike along Purisima Road on June 22 at 2:45 p.m. when a man driving a 2017 Volkswagen came out of Mission Gate Road to turn onto Purisima, and the two collided. Later that day, at 5:41 p.m., 70-year-old Peter “Ace” Angeloff, a beloved science teacher and athletics coach at Laguna Blanca, inexplicably veered his 2020 Harley-Davidson into the opposite lane of the 154 and back again, and then went off the roadway and was ejected down a steep embankment. On June 24, 69-year-old Frank Butcher of Santa Barbara was on a 2021 BMW as part of a group of riders when he collided with a 2021 Honda vehicle making an unsafe turn into a driveway off Baseline Avenue. All three died of their injuries at the accident sites; the two automobile drivers were unhurt. Drugs and alcohol were not considered factors in any of the three incidents.

The three accidents occurred in the daytime under warm, clear conditions. CHP Officer Keith Rogers stated it was not uncommon for motorcycle incidents to increase in the summer months. He advised drivers to share the road with the state’s 1.4 million motorcyclists, and for riders to wear helmets and visible, reflective clothing, keep bike lights on, ride in large groups when possible, and try to avoid drivers’ blind spots.

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