Crashes on south, northbound U.S. 101 through south Santa Barbara Co. bring traffic to a crawl


The California Highway Patrol is investigating a crash involving a wrong-way driver that shut down southbound U.S. Highway 101 near El Capitan State Beach.

At least three vehicles were involved in the crash which occurred at about 2:20 p.m. Wednesday.

The wrong-way driver first struck the side of a pickup truck hauling a 30-foot trailer, which in turn, lost control and ended up in the off-ramp of El Capitan State Beach, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

The female wrong-way driver then went on to crashing head-on with another car in which a 60-year-old woman passenger suffered major injuries and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The wrong-way driver was also taken to the hospital with major injuries, Zaniboni said. It's unclear if the driver of the third car was hurt but Zaniboni said the occupants of the pickup were not injured. However, their truck and trailer were damaged.

The wreck caused the southbound traffic lanes to be blocked causing the freeway to be shut down and traffic re-routed to Highway 154. All southbound traffic lanes were re-opened shortly after 4 p.m., according to CHP.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Authorities arrested the wrong-way driver, later identified as Sarah Yates of Lompoc, for Felony DUI, according to the California Highway Patrol.


In a separate, unrelated crash, a 25-foot box trailer being pulled by a full-sized Econoline Van heading to the Bay Area overturned on northbound U.S. Highway 101 south of El Sueno Road in Santa Barbara.

The trailer was destroyed on impact and the van pulling it jackknifed and came to a stop on the right-hand shoulder guardrail blocking a traffic lane, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Spokesperson Mike Eliason.

Neither the 39-year-old driver, adult male passenger or the two teenage boys in the van were injured, Eliason said.

Santa Barbara City firefighters assisted with a fuel leak that spilled onto the roadway.

CHP is asking motorists to avoid that area. The incident occurred at about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.


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