Retired sheriff's deputy killed in crash on closed road near Santa Maria

Road damaged by weather

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A former Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputy is dead after the vehicle he was driving crashed on a damaged roadway in Santa Maria late Saturday evening.

The crash happened at around 10:30 p.m. on Orcutt-Garey Road. west of Foxen Canyon Road That road had been closed to through traffic after it was damaged by heavy storms earlier this year.

Authorities said that the man was traveling at an undetermined rate of speed in a Ford F-150 when he drove around around the road blocking barriers. He immediately crashed into a sinkhole that had destroyed part of the road.

The man was the sole occupant of the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man has been identified as Ronald Legualt, Jr., 62, of Santa Maria.

KEYT has confirmed that Legault, Jr. was a retired Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Lieutenant.

California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is mourning the loss of Legault, Jr., known affectionately as 'Sonny.' They released the following statement to the media.

Sonny was employed at the Sheriff’s Office for 33 years before he retired in 2011.  During his more than three decades at the Sheriff’s Office, Sonny held a number of different assignments including North and South County Patrol, Criminal Investigations and Human Resources.  Even after he retired, he continued to serve as a reserve deputy until June of 2016.  The Sheriff’s Office asks that you please hold his grieving family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.


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