At 1:48 p.m. Tuesday, Santa Barbara California Highway Patrol dispatch received a call of a collision on southbound Highway 101, just south of Milpas Street, with a tractor-trailer rig jack-knifed and blocking all southbound lanes.
CHP officers responded to the scene, finding a 2007 Kenworth tractor with a jack-knifed 25-foot trailer. Officers moved the rig into the southbound No. 1 lane, opening the No. 2 lane.
“What we had was two separate collisions in close proximity to each other,” SBCHP public affairs officer Daniel Barba said.
The first collision involved a 2004 tractor-trailer towing a set of two belly dump trailers driven by Stephen Worthington, 31, of Camarillo, on southbound Highway 101, south of Milpas, in the righthand No. 2 lane. Michael Holt, 64, of Canyon Country, also was southbound in the No. 2 lane in his 2007 Kenworth tractor pulling a 25-foot trailer, approaching Worthington’s vehicle.
As traffic slowed, Holt was unable to stop in time, striking the rear of Worthington’s rear trailer with the left front of his Kenworth. Holt’s Kenworth then veered to the left, into the center divider where it struck the concrete divider and jack-knifed across all southbound lanes, blocking traffic.
Close to the same time and about a quarter-mile to the north of that collision, Jill Perry of Palm Springs was driving her 2009 Jaguar southbound just south of Milpas, in the lefthand No. 1 lane. Martin Speer, 41, of Santa Maria, was also southbound driving his 1998 Kenworth truck tractor in the No. 2 lane when he attempted to change lanes into the No. 1 lane. He changed lanes but saw traffic ahead slowing and couldn’t avoid striking the rear of the Jaguar.
Both collisions were noninjury. The southbound lanes were blocked for about 10 minutes with the southbound No. 1 lane blocked for about 25 minutes. Alcohol was not a factor in either collision.
Numerous southbound motorists opted to drive the wrong way northbound in the southbound on-ramp of Milpas Street, making it difficult for responding emergency units to reach the scene.
Daniel Barba is a public affairs officer for the California Highway Patrol, Santa Barbara Area.