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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 9:35 pm | Fair 50º


3 Dead After Driver Loses Control of Gravel Truck, Crashes Into Residence

The driver hit the cottage and three vehicles near Hope Ranch Inn after his brakes reportedly failed

A man, a woman and a 7-year-old boy died Tuesday morning after a truck hauling gravel lost control of its brakes and plowed into a residence at 4111 State St. in Santa Barbara, near the Hope Ranch Inn.

The 9-1-1 call came in at 6:53 a.m. Tuesday, and Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki said numerous engines were responding, both county and city, and that four ambulances were on scene.

California Highway Patrol officials confirmed that three people inside the collapsed structure are dead, but their identities are unknown.

The driver of the truck, Joaquin Garcia Morales of Oxnard, sustained minor injuries, including back pain and facial lacerations.

CHP public information officer Jeremy Wayland said Morales was hauling gravel from a rock quarry in Santa Ynez and was the owner and operator of the truck’s cab. Officials at the scene said Morales had been experiencing brake problems before getting onto Highway 154.

Several witnesses saw billowing smoke coming from the truck’s brakes as he went through the Calle Real and State Street intersections without stopping, going about 45 miles per hour.

The investigation is continuing to determine whether the brake problems were mechanical or driver error, authorities said.

Morales’ truck then navigated into the parking lot area of the Hope Ranch Inn and was unable to stop as it crashed into three cars parked in front of the cottage residence, at the end of a driveway between the inn and the Palapa restaurant.
Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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