One Child Dead in Gaviota Crash; at Least Five Injured in Separate Collisions Tuesday

Three Crashes in Santa Barbara County Within Nine Hours: Two Required Extrications, One Fatal

A Toyota SUV rolled over near El Sueno Road in one of three accidents in Santa Barbara County Tuesday; in this incident, two women sustained major injuries and were extricated with the jaws of life. | Credit: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Fire Department

A 6-year-old boy was reported dead following a crash near the Gaviota State Beach Tunnel Tuesday night, in which a Nissan truck slid out of control and into the ravine between the north and southbound lanes of Highway 101, according to a California Highway Patrol report Wednesday.

Two more were injured — a 2-year-old boy and 31-year-old woman — and transported to Santa Ynez Cottage Hospital, where the woman was treated for minor injuries and the boy is being treated for moderate internal injuries.

According to CHP Officer Michael Griffith, the 31-year-old man driving the truck lost control on the slippery road shortly after 7:30 p.m. Conditions were reported to be wet and visibility poor near Gaviota Tuesday night.

“At the time of this crash, it was raining, and the roadway was wet,” Griffith said.

The truck slid down the steep ravine, where it struck a large boulder, overturned, and landed on its right side. Both children seated in the backseat were extracted and transported to the hospital, where the 6-year-old boy was pronounced dead upon arrival.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but Griffith said alcohol and/or drugs were “not a factor in this crash.”

Just two hours before that incident, about five miles up the 101, it was reported that another crash occurred near the Nojoqui Grade that sent one person to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major injuries.

Earlier Tuesday morning, a Toyota SUV rolled over near the El Sueno off-ramp of the 101, requiring the jaws of life to extricate the two women stuck inside the vehicle.

Santa Barbara County Fire crews responded to the crash around 10:30 a.m., and both women were removed within 20 minutes and transported to the hospital with major injuries.

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