A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s lieutenant was arrested Saturday evening on suspicion of driving under the influence after a traffic collision.
According to a report from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, off-duty Custody Lieutenant Javier Antunez, 44, was arrested on suspicion of driving his 2008 BMW under the influence of alcohol and causing injury.
Lt. Antunez has been with the sheriff’s office since 1999. He has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
At around 7:12 p.m. Saturday evening, the California Highway Patrol Buellton office received a call of a multi-vehicle traffic crash with injuries on Highway 154 just east of the Lake Cachuma entrance, according to a CHP news release.
Officers found a three-car collision in which two vehicles struck each other head-on in the eastbound lanes. Officers determined Lt. Antunez was driving eastbound and a 2009 Toyota Tacoma driven by Enrique Calderon-Mendez, 43, of Santa Barbara was traveling westbound.
A 2017 Jeep driven by a 28-year-old woman was unable to avoid the wreckage and struck the rear end of one of the vehicles.
Lt. Antunez and his passenger, 45-year-old Esther Trejo, suffered major injuries and were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital by ambulance.
Mr. Calderon-Mendez suffered minor injury, but one of his passengers, 43-year-old Judith Hall of Santa Barbara, suffered major injuries and was airlifted to Cottage Hospital. His other passengers, 60-year-old Dolores Gutierrez and 48-year-old Evelia Dominguez, suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Cottage Hospital by ambulance.
The driver of the Jeep was evaluated by paramedics at the scene and did not require any further treatment.