The dashcam of one of the cars involved in the pileups on Highway 154 on Wednesday, February 1, captures a semi-truck emitting thick, white smoke. | Credit: Courtesy Patrick L. Siefe

Last Wednesday night, four people were sent to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital after multiple cars collided on Highway 154 for reasons still under investigation. This Monday, one of the drivers involved in the pileup shared dashcam footage showing a semi-truck emitting thick, white smoke that he says caused the crashes.

In a tweet shortly after the collisions, County Fire spokesperson Captain Scott Safechuck reported five cars were involved in the February 1 incident, which took place west of Cold Spring Bridge and sent two men and two women to the hospital with moderate injuries. This Monday, Officer Jonathan Gutierrez with the California Highway Patrol’s Santa Barbara office, which is investigating the incident, clarified there were in fact two separate crashes on the 154 that night involving a total of seven vehicles — one crash involving four vehicles and another involving three.

Driving one of those vehicles was Patrick L. Siefe, who shared a short clip from his dashcam depicting the blinding white smoke. In the video, Siefe is driving behind a vehicle whose brake lights come on as it approaches an 18-wheeler traveling in the opposite direction. Siefe’s video shows thick, white smoke streaming from the truck’s undercarriage as the car in front of him vanishes behind the veil of smoke. As Siefe’s car heads into the smoke, the sedan reappears right in front of him with its brake lights still on and the video cuts off just as Siefe’s car appears very close to it.

“The 18-wheeler was producing so much smoke that visibility became zero,” Siefe told the Independent. According to Siefe, the 18-wheeler then left the scene, and its driver has reportedly not yet been located.

CHP spokesperson Gutierrez said that their report on the incident hasn’t been completed yet, so he could not comment on the cause of the crashes. He did confirm, however, that “there was excessive white smoke in the area,” and he encouraged anyone with video evidence to send it to the Santa Barbara CHP.

Driver Patrick L. Siefe shared footage from his dashcam recorded the night of the February 1 crash on Highway 154. | Credit: Courtesy Patrick L. Siefe

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