Says that his ‘family was murdered’ in collision on State Route 154; reflects on their ‘light’ in face of ‘dark force’
By NICK MASUDA
DIRECTOR OF NEWS
The surviving husband and father of the three people killed in a collision on State Route 154 last Friday took to social media on Tuesday afternoon to pour his heart out in a public post that had been shared more than 600 times as of 8:30 p.m.
Max Gleason revealed that in addition to his wife, Vanessa Bley, he had also lost his two children — 2-year-old Lucienne Bley Gleason and 4-month-old Desmond Bley Gleason.
Mr. Gleason was pointed in his remarks about the collision:
“My family was murdered. Their death was not some senseless, random act, but a deliberate act of evil. Evil exists in the world. It inhabited John Roderick Dungan and he deliberately ran into my wife’s car in an attempt to kill himself and kill others. He succeeded in the latter but not the former. He is still alive. My family is dead. There is evil all over in this world. We hear about it every day in the news. It is the dark force,” Mr. Gleason wrote.
The California Highway Patrol is handling this incident, and could not be reached for comment on the investigation classification.
Mr. Dungan was airlifted from the site of the accident near Cold Spring Canyon Bridge to Santa Barbara’s Cottage Hospital on Friday. It was unclear if his status had improved from “critical,” which he had been listed as after the incident.
Mr. Gleason followed his pointed comments about the alleged murder with insight in how he believes his lost family members showcased tremendous “light” in the face of a “dark force.”
“But there is also a light force that exists as a counterpoint to the darkness. Reading about Taoism and Buddhism, and especially the often amusing ramblings of Alan Watts, have significantly helped me in my understanding of the big ego questions: Who are we? Why are we here? Where did we come from? Where are we going?
“As Taoism explains, there cannot be light without dark. There cannot be love without evil. There would be no appreciation of love without evil, because we need the counterpoint with which to compare love to. Otherwise it has no meaning, no definition.
“In thinking about the death of Vanessa, Lu and Dez I am finding some small solace in the thought that their light, collectively, was so strong that it required such strong evil to extinguish their light. Theirs was not blowing out a candle with a breath, it was dumping a bucket of water on a wildfire. It needed something so strong, so violent, in order to counterbalance and honor the light that they were in this world.”
The fatal collision occurred around 4:45 p.m. Friday, with a Chevy Camaro driven by John Roderick Dungan, 28, of Santa Barbara, traveling westbound on the 154 approaching Cold Spring Canyon Bridge. A Chevrolet Volt driven by Ms. Bley, with her two young children in the backseat, was eastbound, followed by a GMC Yukon driven by a 55-year-old Los Gatos man.
“The Chevy Camaro traveled into the eastbound lane, causing the front of the Camaro to collide with the front of the Chevy Volt,” Capt. Cindy Pontes, spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol, said in a news release. “The GMC swerved to the right and collided with the Volt. The Volt and the GMC came to rest on the south shoulder where they both caught fire, ultimately causing a brush fire.”
The Camaro came to rest in the eastbound lane on the bridge. The passenger in the GMC Yukon was not injured in the incident.
There has been an outpouring of love from the music industry, as Ms. Bley was a well-known jazz musician, following in the footsteps of her late father, Paul Bley, a jazz pianist, and mother Carol Goss, a pioneer video artist.
Ms. Bley was the front woman for the pop band Beast Patrol, with the group having a song featured in Rolling Stone in 2012. She would later team with Stuart Matthewman to release “Twin Danger,” an album that reached No. 1 on the iTunes Jazz Chart.
Her music career seemingly was put in a timeout upon the birth of her two young children.
Mr. Gleason wrote about how his family had become his identity.
“I am still alive. All I have of them now are memories. I am so scared that those memories are going to fade, they will be replaced by photographs and words. Their essence will no longer be available to me. I am so sad about that. It is the worst sorrow in this universe. My identity has been gutted, and now I have the long, difficult task of creating a new identity. The thought of that is so unknown and terrifying.”