[Update 1:50 p.m.] The driver in Friday-morning’s fatal head-on collision, 22-year-old Goleta man Kyle Nelson, has been arrested for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, according to a statement from Buellton CHP officer Gabe Rodriguez. Rodriguez noted that charges are pending a toxicology report.
[Original Story] Two fatal crashes less than 12 hours apart in Santa Barbara County left three dead and another hospitalized, according to California Highway Patrol reports on Thursday and Friday.
In the first incident, a 68-year-old man was killed after overturning his Chevy Silverado pickup off the 154 just east of Zaca Station Road on Thursday afternoon. According to a report from Buellton CHP officer Michael Griffith, the man was driving eastbound on the highway around 4 p.m. when, “for unknown reasons,” he stopped on the southbound shoulder, allowed his truck to “travel down a steep dirt embankment,” through a dirt field, and eventually into a metal guardrail.
The force of the impact with the railing caused his pickup to flip onto its roof, and when emergency personnel arrived, the man was extracted and “after extensive life-saving measures” was pronounced dead on the scene.
The driver’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Twelve hours later — shortly after 4 a.m. — Buellton CHP responded to another incident just more than 15 miles south of the first fatal crash near the junction between Highway 101 and State Route 1. According to CHP officer Gabe Rodriguez, a 22-year-old man, Kyle Nelson of Goleta, was driving southbound at 80 miles per hour and at one point attempted to overtake slower traffic and “wantonly passed over solid double yellow lines,” speeding into oncoming traffic.
Nelson’s Ford Hybrid collided head-on with a Chevy Malibu carrying two young women — the driver, 19-year-old Jenna Causby, and her passenger, 20-year-old Dorothyann Guthrie, both from Lompoc. According to the CHP reports, both vehicles attempted to turn to avoid the collision, but the force of the impact sent both spinning, with the two vehicles eventually coming to a stop engulfed in flames.
Both Causby and Guthrie were pronounced dead on scene, while Nelson was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major injuries.
Both incidents are under investigation.