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Driver Rescued After Being Trapped in Crashed Vehicle Overnight

Law enforcement officials say the Solvang man may have been impaired by prescription drugs

A driver spent more than 15 hours trapped in the wreckage of his car after it crashed into a ravine along Highway 154 near Santa Barbara. He was rescued Tuesday.

A driver spent more than 15 hours trapped in the wreckage of his car after it crashed into a ravine along Highway 154 near Santa Barbara. He was rescued Tuesday.  (Victoria Sanchez / KEYT News photo)

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper | updated logo |

Law enforcement officials said Tuesday that a motorist who was trapped in his vehicle for more than 15 hours after a crash Monday night may have been impaired by prescription drugs at the time.

Officer James Richards of the California Highway Patrol said Michael Crolius of Solvang was driving his Toyota Prius westbound on Highway 154, allegedly at a high rate of speed, when he failed to negotiate a sharp curve in the roadway and collided with a descending embankment.

The incident occurred around 4 p.m., and Richards said Crollius contacted family members from his cell phone for help but asked that law enforcement not be contacted.

His family contacted CHP despite the man’s objections, and reported the collision at 5 p.m. Officers from the Santa Barbara and Buellton areas responded to search the area, along with Santa Barbara County Fire crews and air support.

Crews were unable to locate him though they searched Highway 154 from Buellton to State Street, and Richards said at one point that his family had been on the road directly next to the scene, but was unable to see his car because of the darkness.

A driver was rescued Tuesday after spending more than 15 hours in the wreckage of his care along Highway 154 near San Antonio Creek Road. (Victoria Sanchez / KEYT News photo)
A driver was rescued Tuesday after spending more than 15 hours in the wreckage of his care along Highway 154 near San Antonio Creek Road. (Victoria Sanchez / KEYT News photo)

Crolius was finally found around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, when a CHP officer spotted the overturned vehicle. Crolius had been unable to exit the vehicle because of an injury to his shoulder.

Santa Barbara County firefighters were able to extricate the man from the wreckage after about 20 minutes. Crolius was taken via ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he was being treated for moderate injuries.

Richards said prescription drug impairment is being investigated as the possible primary cause of the collision. If convicted, this would be Crolius’ fourth DUI in three years.

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 01.22.13 @ 05:52 PM

Helicopters, fire engines, search and rescue, CHP, so much taxpayer money wasted. Hope you’re happy having public services liberals!  This is what happens when liberal dems think people that get in trouble should be helped!

» on 01.22.13 @ 08:17 PM

Yeah, let’s get rid of public services!!! Who needs police, fire protection, or local government? Who needs municipal water or sewage or public education? Only stupid liberals of course. The nerve.

» on 01.23.13 @ 11:21 AM

I sure hope that Overtaxed Taypayer has the good sense to advise rescue workers to buzz off should he be in the ditch. These rants are getting old.

» on 01.23.13 @ 12:58 PM

Gotta love a system that puts a man with 3 DUIs back onto the road.  Forget the services, I would have let the man rot.  Next he’ll be taking one of us out.

» on 01.28.13 @ 07:34 PM

4th DUI? WTF SB county little soft on the old folks huh. Whats up with those check points, if you don’t plan on putting people behind bars to think about the crime they have committed?

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