Credit: Courtesy of SBPD

Authorities have identified the motorcyclist fatally injured in a collision near Santa Barbara High School’s lower baseball field on December 15 as James Miller, 57, of Santa Barbara.

The accident was reported on the Morning of December 15, with numerous reports of a “serious injury traffic collision” involving a motorcycle and a BMW SUV at the corner of East Canon Perdido and Quarantina Streets, directly in front of the Eastside Boys & Girls Club.

According to a statement from Santa Barbara Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale, emergency personnel responded and found Miller “barely breathing,” having been ejected and launched nearly 50 feet from the initial area of impact. He was transported to Cottage Hospital for treatment, where he died nearly two weeks later on December 28.

“His death appears to be directly related to the injuries sustained during the collision,” Ragsdale said. The Critical Accident Reconstruction Team found that the BMW pulled into the intersection of East Canon Perdido Street and Quarantina Street, driving south, as Miller was riding east toward Milpas. Both vehicles collided, and Miller’s helmet dislodged before he landed.

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This case is still under investigation, Ragsdale said, but alcohol and drugs are “not believed to be a factor” at this time.

Miller — who worked as a checker at the Vons in Montecito — was described by community members as friendly and talkative, always donning his Harley-Davidson mask while chit-chatting with customers. 

Although the driver was not intoxicated, Ragsdale said that drivers and motorcyclists should use caution when driving and always wear seatbelts and helmets fastened properly.

“Always drive with due regard, absolutely do not drive while intoxicated, and make sure every occupant always wears a seatbelt. Do not drive distracted and always pay attention to the road,” he said. “When operating a motorcycle, it is required by law that a securely fastened, approved helmet must be worn.”

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