Four Fatalities in Two Hwy. 101 Accidents; Southbound Lanes Closed Wednesday Morning

Three people died in a head-on collision on August 25 near Dos Pueblos Canyon Road. County Fire responded to extinguish two cars that caught fire and to extricate victims from the vehicles. It was the second fatal accident to occur around 2 a.m. on Wednesday on the 101. | Credit: Daniel Bertucelli/S.B.Co. Fire

[Update: Aug. 25, 10:30 a.m.] Caltrans announced the southbound 101 through Gaviota has reopened. The northbound 101 is down to one lane at the moment. State Route 154 across the San Marcos Pass remains closed. Caltrans advises postponing travel through Santa Barbara County or considering alternate routes.

[Update: Aug. 25, 10:15 a.m.]  The Goleta office of the California Highway Patrol released information regarding the two accidents this morning.

At 2:10 a.m., on the northbound 101 near “Signal Oil,” aka Eagle Canyon Road, the driver of a 2016 Hyundai collided with a second vehicle in the slow lane, Officer Jonathan Gutierrez reported. The second vehicle left the scene, headed north on the highway. The Hyundai swerved onto the right shoulder and landed between the highway lanes. The driver, as yet unidentified, was pronounced dead at the scene by AMR paramedics.

About eight minutes later, a Volkswagen headed northbound on the 101 went over the dirt center divider, crashing into a Ford Expedition headed southbound. The drivers of both vehicles died at the scene; a passenger in the Expedition was also pronounced dead at the scene. Fires broke out, and CHP traffic incident information indicates the license plate of the Volkswagen, said to be a silver Jetta, melted and was unreadable.

Cars are apparently attempting to use Old San Marcos Road to head over the mountains, and the CHP is turning back anything over 30 feet long. Old San Marcos Road has very sharp turns as it switchbacks up the mountain.

The CHP requests that anyone with information related to these incidents contact them at (805) 967-1234. The CHP office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

The southbound 101 is expected to reopen by noon today.

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[Update: Aug. 25, 9:50 a.m.]  To this morning’s closure of the southbound 101 is the new closure of State Route 154 due to a sedan pinned beneath a communications truck as of about 9 a.m. One person is being extricated from that accident and is in critical condition, Santa Barbara County Fire reports. Two additional victims are being taken to Cottage Hospital with minor injuries.

Caltrans currently has no time estimate for when the 154, or San Marcos Pass, will reopen. Motorists traveling through Santa Barbara County are advised to leave the 101 at State Route 166 in Santa Maria, State Route 33 through Ojai, and Interstate 5 to travel from north to south.

The southbound lanes of the 101 remain closed with an additional report of a vehicle stuck when its underside got hung up when the driver tried to turn around. A tow truck has been called.

[Update: Aug. 25, 8:40 a.m.]  Four people died in two separate accidents on the 101 highway through southern Santa Barbara County early Wednesday morning. One accident near Winchester Canyon occurred at around 2:14 a.m., and one person died. The second accident near El Capitan and Dos Pueblos Canyon Road involved multiple cars, and three people were killed.

The accidents closed the 101 completely for about six hours, and the northbound lanes reopened at around 8:30 a.m. The southbound lanes remain closed through Gaviota.

County Fire responded to both accidents to put out fires and to extricate victims from the vehicles. It is unclear how many vehicles were involved in either accident, but at least two were on fire at Dos Pueblos after a head-on collision.

[Original Story] Caltrans reported around 7:30 a.m. that the 101 closed at Naples due to a multi-vehicle accident. Traffic is stopped and diverted beginning at Winchester Canyon Road in the south and Dos Pueblos Canyon Road to the north.

Currently, the southbound lane is expected to open at noon, with no information available on the northbound lanes.

This is a developing story. Check back for additional details as they become available.

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