Monday, November 12 , 2018, 10:23 am | Smoke 68º


Highway 101 Rollover Victim in Critical Condition; Carpinteria Woman Arrested

Authorities say motorist stumbled from accident in northbound lanes on Montecito's Ortega Hill, was struck by car in southbound lanes

One woman is fighting for her life and another woman has been arrested after she allegedly fled the scene of a bizarre rollover accident that closed Highway 101 for more than four hours Thursday night near Summerland.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Larry Hockman said Friday that Christina Halstead, 48, of Hollister, was driving northbound on the freeway when she crashed her Jeep Wrangler about 10:42 p.m. on Ortega Hill. Halstead’s vehicle flipped over on its roof in the fast lane, but she was able to free herself from the wreckage. Hockman said she was walking across the freeway’s southbound lanes when she appeared to trip and fall in the slow lane. Two cars swerved to miss her, he said, but a third car failed to brake or swerve and the collision hurled her into the fast lane.

Hockman said a Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy responding to the 9-1-1 calls witnessed Halstead being struck and was able to block traffic with his patrol car to protect her from further harm.

According to the CHP, the vehicle that hit Halstead, a 2005 Honda Civic, pulled to the right shoulder and stopped but then accelerated away, fleeing the scene.

While the deputy stayed with the victim, sheriff’s and CHP units were given the description of the suspect vehicle, which Hockman said struck Halstead on the driver’s side. A sheriff’s deputy soon located a car that had broken down on Via Real just inside Carpinteria city limits and that matched the description. CHP investigators arrived and determined that the driver, Nicolle L. Ladin, 34, of Carpinteria, was under the influence of alcohol. She was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and felony hit-and-run. Bail has been set at $100,000.

Halstead was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and was listed in critical condition. The extent of her injuries has not been released.

Mike Gorman, who was directly behind Halstead before the accident, told Noozhawk that it appeared as if the Jeep struck the center divider as the vehicle descended the hill toward Sheffield Drive. He said Halstead had managed to crawl from the Jeep just before it was grazed by a northbound Mercedes-Benz. There were no injuries in that collision.

Gorman said Halstead appeared to be dazed as she stumbled across the freeway with cars whizzing by at high speed. He said he and three companions were shouting at her to return to the median and out of the way of oncoming traffic, but she was struck.

“It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It was awful. Everyone was screaming and crying.”

The southbound lanes were closed between Sheffield and Evans Avenue for emergency vehicles and crash investigators until about 3 a.m., authorities said. Just one lane was open on the northbound side of the freeway.

Surface streets were gridlocked through Montecito and Summerland during the four-hour closure.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Staff writer .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) contributed to this report. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk.

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