An on-duty California Highway Patrol officer died Thursday after trying to avoid a collision with an oncoming vehicle on Foxen Canyon Road at Steele Street in Los Olivos.
About 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Officer Jarrod John Martinez, 30, of Buellton, was on his motorcycle as he returned home from traffic court. He was headed westbound on Steele Street, approaching the intersection, according to CHP spokesman James Richards.
Meanwhile, Solvang resident Curtis Seymour Smith, 68, driving a 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera, was approaching the same intersection from Foxen Canyon Road. According to the CHP, Smith cut across the width of Foxen Canyon Road, positioning his vehicle on the wrong side of the road as he turned onto Steele Street.
Martinez braked to avoid the vehicle, but his motorcycle slid out from under him and he struck the right front corner of Smith’s Porshe. The officer was dragged by the undercarriage of the vehicle for about 45 feet before Smith could stop the vehicle, according to CHP.
Witnesses called 9-1-1. An off-duty deputy medical examiner traveling in the area arrived at the scene and attempted to render aid to Martinez, who died minutes later.
Martinez is survived by his wife, Patricia, and 4-year-old daughter Julia. A trust fund is being established for the family at Wells Fargo Bank.
The Buellton CHP and the Coastal Division Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team are investigating. No arrest has been made, and CHP said neither alcohol nor drugs appear to be a factor in the crash.
— Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at email@example.com.