Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

At least 3 killed when gravel truck careens off highway in Santa Barbara and into a house

Santa Barbara County fire fighters search the site where a heavily loaded gravel truck lost its brakes and smashed into a home killing a man, woman and child. Credit: Keith D. Cullom / Associated Press
A fully loaded gravel truck careened off a highway Tuesday and crushed a house in Santa Barbara, killing a man, woman and child, authorities said.

The double tractor-trailer full of gravel was traveling southbound on Highway 154 near an overpass of the 101 Freeway when it collided with four other vehicles, careening down a driveway into a house in the 4100 block of State Street with three people inside, authorities said.

La-me-crash "It was completely destroyed upon impact," Fire Capt. Gary Pitney said.

Firefighters declared a man and a woman dead at the scene. After an hour of searching the crushed house, they found the body of a child. The victims were not immediately identified.

[Updated, noon: Fire officials had originally thought there were four people inside the house and used dogs to search the premises. But officials later determined there were only three victims.

Neighbors told authorities they saw the missing person leave on a bicycle before the accident.]

Crews were using a vacuum truck to remove gravel from the home.

The gravel truck driver was treated at the scene for minor facial injuries.

The cause of the crash was under investigation. According to logs posted on the California Highway Patrol website, the truck's brakes may have failed.

-- Tony Barboza

Photo: Santa Barbara County fire fighters search the site where a heavily loaded gravel truck lost its brakes and smashed into a home killing a man, woman and child. Credit: Keith D. Cullom / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (30)

Why does Colleefornya allow "double tractor-trailer full of gravel " to travel on its highways?? Aren't single trailers dangerous enough?? You people are all NUTS ! !

how about the truck driver was driving too fast?

What a horrible and avoidable truck accident. In fact, no one should label this an accident because accidents are unavoidable. This could have been avoided with due care. The truck was either loaded with too much gravel, or the brakes were not maintained properly, or something else. Moreover, the truck driver might have been able to take better evasive action and crash into something other than a home. The result is an unnecessary loss of life. I am sorry for the victims, their friends and families, even the truck driver, and pray for them.

Where's the information about the driver??? Hmmmmmm?

@El Dabe Law Firm, Los Angeles Injury Lawyer

Might this poster have a personal bias here? Even the slightest, barest wisp?

The accident could also have been caused by today's self-important motorist who thinks nothing of cutting off a truck because in the last 665 times they've done the trucker slammed on all 18 brakes and burned fuel to get going again so as not to crush the driver darting in front/to the side.

No, I'm not a trucker, just cognizant of 8th grade physics. Please, folks, stay waaay out of a big truck's hazard zones - 250+ ft to the front, the forward 3/4 of both sides and immediately ahead in both lanes beside. If there's an incident ahead and you anchor down from 65 in 125 ft, what will happen between you and that 80,0000 lb truck you slipped in front of?

Trying to tack around a car that's too close in dense traffic is a big cause of daytime truck accidents.

What is truly unavoidable is a lawyer rushing to the scene to see how much money he can make.
El Dabe Lawyer, you are beyond reprehensible.

El Dabe Law Firm, Los Angeles Injury Lawyer:

So whats with using the lawfirm as your alias? Are you crooks exployting these story's and posting for your own benefit? Playing the compassion card?

Gravel trucks are some of the worst offenders of traffic and speed laws. They regularly act as if they own the road, probably because they are paid by the load. Best to steer clear of these disasters waiting to happen. They'll either break your windshields with flying rocks or run you down, depending on whether you find yourself in front of or in back of them.

It is so tacky of you to use this tragedy to advertise your law firm.

@El Dabe Law Firm, Los Angeles Injury Lawyer.......u sound like an idiot!...plain and simple,to just go and jump to conclusions like that....the report says the breaks "MAY" have failed...my father has been a truck driver for over 20 years,so i know a little about a fully loaded truck(that's up to 80,000 lbs.)gross weight.most people driving passenger cars have blatant disrespect for a big truck,they feel that they go to slow therefore unsafely passing them,or sometimes cutting them off. some people are ignorant as to how long it takes a fully loaded truck to stop.also those breaks work off of air pressure,so its also possible for a hose to rupture and therefore the air pressure being lost,hence no brakes.that is why u see runaway truck ramps on high grade mountains...accident or not. the only thing this IS for sure is a tragedy,lots of lives changed in a few seconds.to end this,the dot requires log books for these trucks and keeps records of everything,including when these trucks get put trough inspections by CHP.so im possitive there will be an thorough ivestigation.so why dont u just keep sending your fraud patients,to fraudulent chiropractors,and leave the judging to the pros.

Wow an entire family.. just like that

so messed lol

A "comment" (see above) from an accident lawyer claiming it was tragic and avoidable and closing with the claim that s/he will "pray" for the victims. Unbelievable. Now I've seen everything.

Trucks (and some cars!)carrying certain toxic materials have been banned from this road for years because it runs right past the main resovoir for the county. Perhaps it is time to ban all large vehicle traffic (including trucks requiring a class 2 or 3 license, the heaviest motorhomes, and all trailers with more than one axle) because the road just was not designed to handle them well, and cannot be upgraded to do so due to the terrain. The Freeway runs to the same places and only takes a bit longer. Of course drunks are still the main killers and maimers on this road.

Negligent homicide.

No jake brake ? Plenty of other
truckers make that route safely

There were similar tragedies that occurred on CA-2/Angeles Crest Highway in La Cañada-Flintridge (near Pasadena), and on L.A. County N9/Kanan Dume Road in Malibu. In each case a downhill truck lost control. The result in those two cases was that trucks are banned from those highways. It may be time to consider truck restrictions on CA-154/San Marcos Road. Bear in mind that CA-2 and LA-N9 had runaway truck systems (gravel pits to help a truck stop after brake failure). I don't recall seeing a runaway truck system on CA-154 when I was last in the area, so that should be the first step before banning trucks from CA-154/San Marcos Road.

El Dabe Law Firm, you sure don't waste time do you? How about having some respect for the dead before you use their tragic demise for your own monetary gain?

That's just disgusting.

How can anyone blame the truck driver at this point? There is little information regarding the cause of the accident and to say that the driver could have crashed into the something other than a home is ridiculous. Things like this happen so quickly that to insinuate that the driver purposely crashed into anything is just silly, I'm sure he did what he could to avoid any loss of life, if he'd have veered any further right, he would have hit the restaurant possibly killing many more.

Banning trucks from the 154 sounds great, but how many accidents like this happen a year that result in death? I don't know for sure but I assume that there are only a small percentage of large truck fatalities. A tragic accident and horrible loss of life yes, but to jump to such conclusions seems rash and absurd.

Everyone, please remember, the driver is a person too. And lets not get too hurtful. This is clearly an accident, dont treat this situation like the poor driver intentionally got in his truck to kill an entire family today. Very sad for all parties involved, even the brave fire fighters that had to recover that poor childs body.
Very sad. VERY sad.

It doesn't matter what speed he was traveling. 52,000 pounds of dead weight plus the weight of the rig x whatever speed he was doing is all it takes, especially without brakes.

My condolences to the family. What a tragedy!

Any driver of a vehicle who causes an accident in which innocent people are killed should be executed. Period.

What right has this driver to live?

All of these posts about the dangers of HWY-154 are great and all, but if the accident occured at the 154/101 bridge it had nothing to do with the hill. That section of the road is as much a windy road as Santa Monica Blvd.

Instead of banning trucks from our highways, I suggest banning houses near our highways. No more worries!

1st off I live in Santa Ynez and take the 154 to Santa Barbara all the time. It is full of slow driving idiots going back and forth to the Chumas Casino. There are no run-away truck pits and minimal passing lanes. Of course, the cars that drive 35 through the turns then drive 100 through the straight passing areas!

There is a major gravel mining thing going on near cachuma lake so good luck removing the gravel trucks from the road. You see them every time you drive the road.

Uhhhh... hate to rain on your sensational story, but I'm sitting about a quarter mile away. We're talking more like NOT HOUSE but a rundown motel where transients pretty much land. Sad isn't it?
See, Caltrans REMOVED a runaway truck ramp from THIS SIDE of the SM Pass (HWY 154) a while back, probably on the (fail) advice from some local lunatic psychic. Instead, they shifted their misguided priorities (AND 4 MILLION BUCKS) to constructing a suicide barrier ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PASS (the Cold Springs Bridge) to deter the once a year jumper who desperately wants off planet nut-house anyway.
Also meanwhile, local highway 101 is beginning to resemble (and feel like) some third-world goat path.
Great foresight Caltrans... 3 dead, wreckage, deteriorating infrastructure and MAYBE a young minor (who took off on the bike) now without a family.

1 2 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: