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Bill Macfadyen: Witnesses to Horrific Motorcycle Crash Tell Gripping Stories

High-speed chase and manhunt, a cowboy riding for a fall, and two captured burglary suspects round out NoozWeek's Top 5

What were you reading on Noozhawk this past week?

1. In an Instant, Good Samaritans Came Together to Save Motorcycle Crash Victims

The paths of William Barbaree and Nick McGilvray had not crossed before May 29. For Ellen and Jim Atwood, the timing could not have been better.

The Atwoods were riding their motorcycle west on Old Coast Highway, following their close friends and fellow tourists from Canada, Marnee and Bill Paterson. As the two couples passed one of the fairways of Montecito Country Club, an eastbound motorist — allegedly driving under the influence — swerved across the center line and into their lane. The Patersons were able to dodge the SUV, but the vehicle slammed head-on into the Atwoods.

Only seconds after the collision that left the Atwoods mangled and maimed, Barbaree and McGilvray came upon the scene, from opposite directions, and rushed to render aid. In an exclusive interview with Noozhawk, McGilvray told our Gina Potthoff that he looked at both victims but thought he could help just one.

“I remember somehow coming to the decision that his bleeding was worse than hers,” he said of Jim Atwood.

The 28-year-old Army veteran, who served five combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, immediately began applying pressure to Atwood’s leg in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Then he fashioned a tourniquet from his belt. 

Meanwhile, Barbaree ran to Ellen Atwood’s side and began doing the same thing. Although he’s a surgical technician at Santa Babrara Cottage Hospital, the 31-year-old Barbaree had never tried a tourniquet outside of training.

“At that point, it was our best option,” he explained to Gina.

Only after paramedics arrived and sped the Atwoods to the hospital did the two heroes of this story have a chance to meet each other and shake hands. Days later, after repeated requests by the Atwoods to meet their rescuers, they came to see them at the hospital to close the loop.

“Everybody was crying,” McGilvray said. “Their family was there. Ellen’s saying to Billy, ‘You saved my life.’ What do you say to that? It was extremely emotional.”

Although both Atwoods lost legs in the collision, and Ellen’s left arm may yet be amputated, both say they are grateful to be alive and grateful that their spouses are, too.

“There are so many opportunities to draw negatives from something like that, and they didn’t,” McGilvray said. “They weren’t dwelling on the fact that they were missing a leg. They weren’t dwelling on the man that drove them off the road.”

Martin Maguire
Martin Maguire

And speaking of that guy, Martin Maguire, the 51-year-old Montecito resident who has pleaded not guilty to felony DUI charges in the case, appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on June 13 but not much happened. He’s due to return to court July 9, and Senior Deputy District Attorney Arnie Tolks says a preliminary hearing will likely be set at that time.

This apparently isn’t Maguire’s first rodeo. According to police records obtained by Noozhawk, he was arrested on the Mesa in 2009 after firefighters reported following a vehicle that was swerving into oncoming traffic on Cliff Drive.

In the report, Santa Barbara police say Maguire’s speech was slurred and that he was unable to complete a series of field sobriety tests.

“In a search of his vehicle, a bottle of medication was located with four different types of pills inside,” two of which — Lorezapam and Hydrocodone — Maguire did not have a prescription for, the report says.

DUI charges were filed but they were later reduced to reckless driving. Court records show Maguire was sentenced to a year of probation and a $1,040 fine.

Maguire’s blood-alcohol content in his most recent arrest is not yet available, according to the criminal complaint filed against him.

Marnee and Bill Paterson, foreground, and Ellen and Jim Atwood shared a celebratory dinner on the first night of their long-planned motorcycle tour of the western United States. The two-week vacation went terribly wrong in Santa Barbara when the Atwoods were struck by an allegedly impaired driver on Old Coast Highway. (Paterson family photo)
Marnee and Bill Paterson, foreground, and Ellen and Jim Atwood shared a celebratory dinner on the first night of their long-planned motorcycle tour of the western United States. The two-week vacation went terribly wrong in Santa Barbara when the Atwoods were struck by an allegedly impaired driver on Old Coast Highway. (Paterson family photo)

2. Spared Canadian Couple Recounts Horrific Collision That Maimed Their Friends

The interview with good Samaritans William Barbaree and Nick McGilvray wasn’t the only powerful exclusive that our Gina Potthoff had this week. Marnee and Bill Paterson, Ellen and Jim Atwood’s traveling companions and fellow countrymen, also shared their dramatic story with her.

The Patersons were on a motorcycle just ahead of their friends and managed to swerve out of the way when an oncoming vehicle suddenly barreled into their lane. They have a slightly different perspective on the case and, not surprisingly, their picture is a bit more black and white.

“I was looking to my right at the golf course,” Marnee Paterson said. “Next thing I looked, the truck was coming right at us. In a blink of a second. It was after we swerved, we heard a crash.”

She described the chaos of the crash scene, which included debris spread across a large stretch of Old Coast Highway and the mangled bodies of their longtime friends, with whom they had spent two years planning their dream motorcycle tour of the western United States.

“People were pulling up,” she recalled. “I was yelling to call 9-1-1. Billy ran up to the accident site. He saw how bad it was and yelled to me not to come up. Probably for the first time in my life, I listened to him.”

After the wreck, it was up to the Patersons to advocate for the Atwoods. Shell-shocked and far from home, they nevertheless were a source of strength and a vital link to normalcy and familiarity amid the most unimaginable circumstances.

And in spite of their understandable protectiveness of their friends and desire to see that justice is carried out swiftly and severely, they continuously expressed thanks for the kindness of strangers who, in instance after instance, provided comfort and care with grace and love.

“Everybody helped out,” Bill Paterson said of the Santa Barbara community. “Everybody there — the doctors, the nurses. They were all fantastic. It was unbelievable.”

The Patersons returned to Ontario late last week to help prepare the way for the Atwoods, who, on June 9 were flown to a hospital near their home in Orangeville, about 50 miles northwest of Toronto. It will be a long and difficult road to recovery, but with stalwart friends like Marnee and Bill Paterson at their side, they’re off to a great start.

[Noozhawk’s note: If you wish to make a donation to the Atwoods to help cover their medical expenses, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.]

3. Three Alleged Gang Members Captured in Montecito After High-Speed Chase from Buellton

Not so fast. An alleged gang member is handcuffed after his capture in Montecito following a high-speed chase that started in Buellton. (John Palminteri photo / KEYT News)
Not so fast. An alleged gang member is handcuffed after his capture in Montecito following a high-speed chase that started in Buellton. (John Palminteri photo / KEYT News)

Three alleged Oxnard gang members were arrested in Montecito on June 7 after a high-speed chase that started in Buellton.

The California Highway Patrol had attempted to stop a white Chrysler 300S sedan for speeding on Highway 101, but the driver ignored the attempt and floored it. The chase reached speeds up to 120 mph before bogging down in heavy afternoon commuter traffic between Goleta and Santa Barbara, at which point authorities backed off for safety reasons and followed the car from the air.

The trio ditched the allegedly stolen vehicle in the parking lot of Vons market on Coast Village Road and fled into the residential neighborhood.

CHP Officer James Richards said Dionicio Salinas, 21, and Fernando Salinas, 23, were apprehended on Palm Tree Lane off Hot Springs Road, while Juan Francisco Rodriguez Jr., the alleged driver, was found hiding inside a house he had broken into to elude capture in the 200 block of Hot Springs Road.

All three suspects were booked into County Jail. Richards said one of the suspects had outstanding warrants from Ventura County.

There were no injuries in the chase or the manhunt.

4. Horse Rider Seriously Injured in 100-Foot Fall in Refugio Canyon

A cowboy and his horse tumbled about 100 feet down a steep hillside in Refugio Canyon west of Goleta on June 7, and the rider suffered serious injuries in the fall. Although both man and animal reportedly were knocked unconscious, the horse later came to and is back on its feet.

The incident was reported at Circle Bar B Guest Ranch, according to county fire Engineer Russ Sechler. The cowboy, whose identity has not been released, was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Firefighters and members of the sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team responded to the scene, along with a county helicopter, Sechler said.

Noozhawk’s Tom Bolton will have an update on the story early next week with an exclusive interview with a witness.

Noozhawk reader Tim O'Neil witnessed the capture of two burglary suspects on Cathedral Oaks Road in Goleta and sent us his photo of their arrest. (Tim O'Neil photo)
Noozhawk reader Tim O’Neil witnessed the capture of two burglary suspects on Cathedral Oaks Road in Goleta and sent us his photo of their arrest. (Tim O’Neil photo)

Felipe Camarillo
Felipe Camarillo

5. Pursuit Leads to Arrest of Goleta Burglary Suspects

A Goleta resident interrupted a burglary at his Cambridge Drive house June 6 when he returned home and found two masked men rummaging around inside. The suspects fled but witnesses gave authorities a description of the getaway car.

Minutes later, a Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy spotted the vehicle, a silver Nissan Maxima, on Cathedral Oaks Road near Foothill School.

Fellow officers converged on the scene and the two suspects were taken into custody without incident.

Angel Sanchez
Angel Sanchez

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said Felipe Camarillo and Angel Sanchez, both 19 and from Santa Barbara, were arrested and charged with burglary.

She said Sanchez has also been charged with assault with a deadly weapon because he allegedly attempted to run over a witness to the break-in, in the 700 block of Cambridge Drive just north of Cathedral Oaks Road.

Based solely on our analytics tracking story forwarding activity, there’s quite a lot of interest in this case. In fact, the story referrals began almost as soon as we posted it.

                                                                  •        •        •

The sky’s the limit — literally — when it comes to the magnificent imagery in this video, even if the soundtrack’s kind of annoying.

Horizons from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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