Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 9:04 pm | Fair 48º


CHP Says Alcohol Suspected in Highway 101 Wreck

Three people hospitalized after two vehicles rolled over in northbound lanes near Refugio State Beach Sunday night

Drunken driving is suspected in an accident Sunday night that seriously injured three people on northbound Highway 101 near Refugio State Beach, according to the California Highway Patrol

Sean Cooper, 19, of Santa Maria was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, according to CHP Officer Javier Garcia.

Witnesses reported that Cooper had been driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed shortly before the accident, Garcia said.

The wreck near Arroyo Quemada along the Gaviota Coast occurred at about 6 p.m. when Cooper, driving a Honda Odyssey, switched lanes and collided with a Ford Excursion driven by Xin Chen, 60, of Santa Maria, Garcia said.

Both vehicles rolled over in the accident, with one ending up in the center divider and the other on the right shoulder, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason.

Chen, Cooper and a 16-year-old Los Alamos girl who was a passenger in Cooper’s vehicle were injured in the crash, Garcia said. They were taken to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, with one suffering major head injuries, and the other two with moderate injuries, Eliason said.

Northbound traffic on the highway was tied up for more than two hours following the wreck, according to CHP dispatch.

Two fire engines and a fire truck responded to the scene, along with personnel from the CHP, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, AMR and CalStar air ambulance, Eliason said.

The exact cause of the accident remained under investigation by the CHP, Garcia said.

The highway lanes were cleared and traffic began flowing smoothly again sometime after 8:30 p.m., according to CHP dispatch.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >