A head-on collision killed one woman and injured three other people Monday morning near Lompoc on Highway 246.
The accident blocked both directions of the roadway for nearly two hours as Santa Barbara County and Lompoc city firefighters worked to free the four trapped victims. The high-speed crash, which occurred shortly after 7:30 a.m., involved a minivan, a sedan and a small pickup truck.
“We did use the Jaws of Life on all three vehicles,” said Bryan Fernandez, a firefighter and paramedic who was at the scene. “One car, the pickup truck, was about 150 feet away from the others.”
Fernandez said it took firefighters around 20 minutes to extricate the two critically injured victims – one of whom was a child – from the wrecked pickup. He said it took 30 to 40 minutes to extricate the moderately injured diver of the minivan. The sedan driver, who was by herself, died at the scene.
None of the victims’ identities were available Monday afternoon.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the minivan, which was traveling westbound, veered into oncoming lanes and struck the pickup truck first, then continued forward and struck the sedan.
“For unknown reasons, the car drifted approximately two or three feet into the opposing lane and it resulted in a chain reaction,” said CHP officer Roland Garife. “There was no braking, just instantaneous contact.”
Garife said the minivan and other involved vehicles were traveling between 55 and 60 miles per hour at the time of the crash. He said the CHP diverted traffic onto Highway 1 to ease congestion during rescue efforts.