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Big-Rig Driver Killed in Highway 101 Crash Was Under the Influence of Meth, Officials Say

The tractor-trailer struck a sedan, trapping a woman and her young daughters inside the vehicle as it dangled over a bridge railing

The driver of an 18-wheeler who died last month after crashing on Highway 101 was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of his death, officials confirmed Thursday.

Charles Allison, 48, of Grover Beach, was killed Jan. 12 after his tractor-trailer struck a sedan while traveling northbound on Highway 101 south of Buellton. Allison’s truck plunged off the road into a creek 100 feet below, where it burst into flames.

Officials said Thursday that Allison had been actively using meth while driving.

“He did have high levels of methamphetamine in his system,” said Drew Sugars, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, adding that the Coroner’s Office is still working on its report.

The collision forced the sedan into the road’s guardrail and was teetering over the bridge as rescue personnel worked to extract the three people inside.

A group of Navy Seabees stuck in the traffic were able to provide a forklift to support the dangling vehicle, while Santa Barbara County firefighters worked to free Kelli Groves, 36, of San Juan Capistrano and her daughters, Sage, 10, and Milo, 10 weeks.

The baby was unharmed in the crash, but Groves and her other daughter were kept at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for eight days before being released.

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.

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