Saturday, September 5 , 2015, 1:27 am | Fair 64.0º




Coroner: Women Struck and Killed on Highway 154 Had Drugs in Systems

Pedestrians Sara Ornelas, 54, of Santa Barbara, and Barbara Romero , 49, of Lompoc, died after being struck by vehicles

Flowers have been placed at a roadside memorial on Highway 154 where Sara Ornelas, 54, of Santa Barbara, and Barbara Romero , 49, of Lompoc were killed Dec. 21 after being struck by vehicles. Santa Barbara County Coroner’s officials said Friday that both women had drugs in their systems at the time of their deaths.

Flowers have been placed at a roadside memorial on Highway 154 where Sara Ornelas, 54, of Santa Barbara, and Barbara Romero , 49, of Lompoc were killed Dec. 21 after being struck by vehicles. Santa Barbara County Coroner’s officials said Friday that both women had drugs in their systems at the time of their deaths.  (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper | updated logo 1:05 p.m. |

Law enforcement officials have confirmed that two women who were struck and killed in a bizarre incident on Highway 154 last month did have drugs in their systems — including methadone and amphetamines — at the time of their deaths.

Sara Ornelas, 54, of Santa Barbara, and Barbara Romero , 49, of Lompoc, were killed Dec. 21 on Highway 154 after being struck by vehicles driving on the road.

At the time, the women had driven over San Marcos Pass from Santa Barbara en route to the Chumash Indian Reservation in Santa Ynez when they pulled over near the entrance to Rancho San Marcos Golf Course at about 11:45 p.m., Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi told Noozhawk at the time.

A small dog that was with them jumped out of the car and into the roadway, where it was struck and killed by a vehicle, Arnoldi said. One of the women ran into the road in pursuit of the dog, and also was struck, he said.

The second woman went to the aid of her companion and was struck multiple times, Arnoldi said. Both women were later declared dead at the scene, and the California Highway Patrol initially said alcohol and drugs did not appear to be factors in the accident.

A cross has been placed along Highway 154 where two women were killed late last month when they were struck by vehicles. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)
A cross has been placed along Highway 154 where two women were killed late last month when they were struck by vehicles. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

But on Friday, sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Williams said toxicology results revealed that Ornelas had methadone in her system, as well as metabolites that could be linked to morphine or codeine, as well as cocaine and heroin.

Romero’s results also revealed she was under the influence of amphetamine, methamphetamine, methadone and metabolites that could be linked to codeine, heroin or morphine.

Williams told Noozhawk that the drugs are not listed as the official cause of the death in the cases, but what was found in their bodies at the time.

The CHP is continuing to investigate the incident.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




comments powered by Disqus

» on 01.11.13 @ 10:28 PM

Bad things can happen when you drive with drugs in your system.

» on 01.12.13 @ 02:17 AM

The memory of my mother should only be that she was the most loving and caring person to ever have an influence in my life.
I love you mom and will always miss you.

» on 01.12.13 @ 10:58 AM

CHP Sgt. Mark Williams told Noozhawk that the drugs are not listed as the official cause of the death in the cases, but what was found in their bodies at the time.

So why is this news?

» on 01.14.13 @ 04:38 AM

To the reader who questioned why it’s news that the two women had drugs in their system though that wasn’t listed as the cause of death: 

Of course the cause of death was being run over by automobiles.  But had the women not taken drugs they would have been in their right minds and would not have been so foolhardy as to run onto the road when cars are coming!!

The strong narcotics in their systems were, in fact, taken specifically to alter their minds, so the presence of drugs in indeed absolutely germane to accurate reporting of the story.

» on 01.15.13 @ 01:52 AM

These women died a tragic death, regardless of what was or wasn’t in their systems. Its is bad karma to talk ill of the dead. Let the dead lie with out dragging them through the mud any more. This recent addition is not news. You Noozhawk should be ashamed of yourself for this. I know it is your job to report news, but some times things like this should never make it to any form of print.

» on 01.15.13 @ 09:14 AM

I agree really there was no need to bring this up. To.ZUMA7 Bad things happen period. To. Ms BETTY PIANO.. All those substances stay in your system for 3 days. So your rude heartless allegations are just that. YOU DON’T KNOW IF THEY WERE UNDER THE INFLUENCE ANYMORE THEN ANYONE ELSE. It could have been from 3 days prior. Man do you live in a glass house????
To. Ami_indigenous-Your absolutely right. May you hold onto the great memory’s and love your mother and you had\have. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. I’m sorry for you lose. I hope you know about Hospice of Santa Barbara. They have a some of the best therapist that specialize in grief counseling. As well as groups that help in the process as you are introduced to and share among others whom have lost loved ones. You and all those affected by this tragedy will be forever in my prayers.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

 

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.