Two firefighters were seriously injured early Wednesday when they were struck by a minivan while tending to a vehicle accident on Highway 101 in Gaviota, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Six other people were injured and taken to area hospitals, fire Capt. Scott Safechuck said.
The initial crash, a single-vehicle rollover with minor injuries, happened at about 5:15 a.m. in the southbound lanes near the Highway 1 offramp.
About 25 minutes later, a Nissan Quest driven by Modesta Zaragoza, 46, of Santa Maria approached the crash scene “at an unsafe speed for roadway conditions,” according to CHP Officer Michael Griffith.
Zaragoza lost control of the vehicle, which traveled across the left-hand lane into a left-turn lane, then veered to the right while rotating clockwise, Griffith said.
The minivan then traveled onto the right highway shoulder, where CHP officers and fire personnel were standing.
Two firefighters, a captain and an engineer from Station 31 in Buellton, were struck by the minivan, Safechuck told Noozhawk.
The minivan continued onto the dirt shoulder and overturned, the CHP said.
Both firefighters suffered moderate to major injuries, and were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital — one by AMR ambulance and the other by a county Air Support Unit helicopter.
Their names were not released.
The fire captain was reported in serious but stable condition Wednesday afternoon in an intensive care unit, while the engineer was treated and released, Safechuck said.
Zaragoza and three passengers in her vehicle sustained minor injuries.
One patient with minor to moderate injuries was taken by ambulance to Cottage, and four patients with minor injuries were transported to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.
A CHP officer sustained minor injures when he dove out of the way of the minivan, Griffith said, and was taken to Santa Ynez Cottage Hospital.
Zaragoza was not cited at the scene, Griffith said, but the investigation was continuing.
The southbound Highway 101 lanes were reopened around 12:30 p.m. after being closed for hours between Buellton and Gaviota.
Check the Caltrans Quickmap for highway condition updates.
Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.