Credit: Courtesy

The Santa Barbara Police Department received reports of a serious injury traffic collision near the intersection of East Cota Street and Salsipuedes Street on Friday November 27, involving three vehicles and a motorcycle, and resulting in the death of 78-year-old Santa Barbara resident, Kenneth Warfield Sterling.

When officers arrived, they discovered an adult male unresponsive laying in the roadway. A motor officer arrived first to the scene and attempted to provide aid, but Sterling was pronounced dead at the scene. 

During the investigation, officers determined Sterling was driving a motorcycle south down the 600 block of North Salsipuedes Street, near Ortega Park. A Jeep SUV was also driving south behind Sterling and reportedly rear-ended the motorcycle, ejecting Sterling over 80 feet before he landed in the roadway. The Jeep then collided with a parked Dodge Ram Pick-up truck. The motorcycle was struck with such force it careened riderless halfway down the block before colliding with another parked vehicle. 

The driver of the Jeep, Raul A. Gonzalez, a 48-year-old Santa Barbara resident, is believed to be at fault and suspected of driving under the influence at the time of the collision and was placed under arrest. Gonzalez was transported to Cottage Hospital from the scene of the collision for evaluation, and discharged without sustaining injuries. He is currently being charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and felony DUI causing injury or death. He was booked in Santa Barbara County Jail with $1 million bail.

This case is still under investigation, and no other information is available at this time.

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