Sheriff’s office investigates death
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a death that occurred on Painted Cave Road.
At approximately 9:59 p.m. on July 23, deputies were dispatched to the area of Painted Cave Road, north of State Route 154, for a report of a person down in the roadway.
When they arrived, they found a man, later identified as 37-year-old Daniel Zuzinec, awake and near a vehicle, and a woman, later identified as 45-year-old Nicole Lawson, unconscious in the roadway, said Raquel Zick, the Sheriff’s Office’s public information officer.
Ms. Zick said medics responded to the scene and pronounced Ms. Lawson deceased.
Mr. Zuzinec was detained and ultimately arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, Ms. Zick said in a news release Friday. He experienced a medical emergency and was transported to an area hospital, where he was booked in absentia.
In the hours and days that followed, the sheriff’s office has been investigating this incident.
The Sheriff’s Major Accident Response Team responded to the area for the traffic collision investigation and were assisted by forensic technicians.
Sheriff’s detectives also responded to the scene to handle the criminal investigation.
The Coroner’s Bureau conducted a death investigation that included an autopsy on Wednesday. This multifaceted investigation remains ongoing, and Ms. Lawson’s final cause and manner of death are pending toxicology, Ms. Zick said.
Mr. Zuzinec remains in custody without bail at the County Main Jail in Santa Barbara on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance (a misdemeanor), DUI causing injury (a felony), and vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (a felony) as well as a remand for previous pending charges.
— Katherine Zehnder
Motorcyclist dies in collision
A motorcyclist died Thursday on State Route 1 during a collision that affected five vehicles and closed the northbound and southbound lanes near Vandenberg Space Force Base for more than four hours.
The initial investigation indicates that the first party was driving a GMC Yukon, northbound on State Route 1 in the second lane, between 60-70 mph, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The CHP said the second party was driving an Aprilia motorcycle southbound on State Route 1 at undetermined speed, within the first lane.
The CHP said the third party was driving a Lincoln Navigator northbound on SR-1, in the second lane, at approximately 60 mph, behind the motorcycle. The passenger in the car was Francisco Solorio, 62.
A fourth party was driving a Jeep Cherokee northbound on State Route 1, in the first lane, at approximately 70 mph, to the left rear of the Lincoln, according to the CHP.
The fifth party was driving a 2018 Subaru Legacy northbound on State Route 1, in the first lane, at approximately 73-76 mph, behind the Jeep, the CHP reported.
This collision occurred as the GMC veered to the left where it traversed the first northbound lane and center dirt median. As a result, the GMC traveled into the opposing lanes directly into the path of the Aprilia.
The motorcyclist on the Aprilia was unable to avoid the GMC, and the front of the GMC collided head on with the front of the Aprilia. The collision propelled the Aprilia in a westerly direction, where it traveled into the second southbound lane and collided with the front of the Lincoln.
Simultaneously, the motorcyclist was ejected from the Aprilia and collided with the GMC, according to the CHP.
Subsequently, the motorcyclist was deflected onto the west descending embankment. Both the drivers of the Jeep and the Subaru observed the GMC continuing north in the southbound lane.
The drivers of the Jeep and the Subaru turned their respective vehicles into the center divider to avoid a collision with the GMC. The Jeep was struck with debris from the initial collision between the GMC and the Aprilia. The Subaru sustained minor damage from turning into the center divider.
After the collision, the motorcyclist succumbed to his injuries at the scene, and the driver of the GMC was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria for minor injuries. The drivers of the Lincoln, Jeep and Subaru remained at the scene, and no injuries were reported for them or the passengers in the Jeep and Subaru, according to the CHP.
Alcohol and/or drugs do not appear to be a factor in this collision, and no arrests have been made, the CHP said.
The collision is under investigation. Officer Gerics is the investigating officer.
— Katherine Zehnder
Highway 101 to be reduced to one lane
VENTURA — Caltrans announced Friday that Highway 101 will be reduced to one southbound bypass lane from Mussel Shoals to Faria Beach from 9 each night to 6 the next morning, Aug. 3-5 and Aug. 8-10.
Highway 101’s off- and on-ramps at Seacliff will be closed the same nights from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The southbound lane on the coastal side will be closed to proceed with pavement rehabilitation on two right southbound lanes and shoulders that remain closed behind k-rails, according to Caltrans.
The southbound U.S. Highway 101 off- and on-ramps at Seacliff also will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Aug. 3-5 and August 8-10 for trucks to access a batch plant.
The southbound U.S. 101 bypass lane on the mountain side will remain open, but it has no exits from Mussel Shoals to Faria Beach.
Two northbound U.S. 101 lanes also will remain open in the work zone, which connects Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Motorists should expect delays and high-intensity lights at night, according to Caltrans. Residents and businesses located near the freeway may experience noise, vibrations and dust associated with construction activities. Signs are posted. Closures may start and end later.
Real-time traffic information can be found at quickmap.dot.ca.gov.
All work is subject to change due to weather or construction-related issues. The work is part of a $48 million pavement rehabilitation project — including $5.5 million in funding from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 — on a 4.3-mile section of U.S. 101 north of Ventura.
The project will smooth the roadway and extend pavement life, according to Caltrans. More details are available at: tinyurl.com/mrycvtdm.
— Katherine Zehnder