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

August 24, 2010 | 11:24 am

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

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