Four local high school students were hospitalized after a Saturday afternoon car crash, but three have been released, a Cottage Health System spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Santa Barbara Police Department Lt. Paul McCaffrey said a 17-year-old male was driving a BMW vehicle with three passengers along Foothill Road at a high rate of speed and drove off the roadway.

The car hit a tree, continued down an embankment and came to rest in a creek bed, where the car caught on fire, McCaffrey said.

Three of the boys made it out of the car and crawled away, and one had to be helped out by passers-by. McCaffrey said alcohol or drugs do not appear to be factors in the crash.

Three of the victims were released from the hospital by Tuesday, Cottage Health System spokeswoman Janet O’Neill told Noozhawk.

They had minor abrasions and burns. One boy was transferred to Sherman Oaks Hospital & Health Center’s Burn Center for second- and third-degree burns on his hands, face and neck, since those areas were more exposed, McCaffrey said.

Barbara Keyani, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara School District, said three of the four boys are students at Santa Barbara High School, and the other was formerly enrolled there.

Their names are being withheld because they are all juveniles.

McCaffrey said the preliminary investigation indicates the driver was traveling at unsafe speeds, especially when the wet road and driver’s inexperience are taken into consideration.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

A stylized hawk's head on a red background

Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at