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Local News

Four Accidents at Cliff Drive and Flora Vista Leave 2 Injured

The crashes involve 10 vehicles and a motor scooter; drivers blame the sun's glare, but police say unsafe speeds for the conditions were the primary factor

Four accidents involving 10 vehicles and one motor scooter occurred minutes apart Wednesday morning at Cliff Drive and Flora Vista, snarling morning traffic and leaving two people with minor injuries.

The two people who suffered injuries were taken by ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where they were treated and released.

At 7:40 a.m., several vehicles on Cliff Drive at Mesa Lane were stopped at a red light. A 23-year-old man driving a red Nissan Xterra eastbound at about 40 mph rear-ended a white minivan driven by a 53-year-old woman. The impact caused a chain reaction involving two other stopped vehicles. The driver of the Xterra told police that the sun was in his eyes and he couldn’t see the stopped traffic.

The Exterra had moderate damage, the van sustained major damage, and the other two vehicles had minor-to-moderate damage. No one required medical treatment.

Minutes later, a 20-year-old woman driving a 1996 Saturn eastbound on Cliff Drive rear-ended an 83-year-old male in a 1997 Saturn stopped near Mesa Lane. The second Saturn was pushed into a 1996 Chevy Camaro. The drivers of the two Saturns were treated at the hospital.

Minutes after that collision, a 29-year-old male driving a Piaggio motor scooter eastbound on Cliff Drive rear-ended a 1988 Dodge Aires stopped because of the earlier accidents. The driver of the motor scotter flew over the handlebars and crashed head-first onto the roofline of the Dodge. The rider was wearing a helmet and suffered only scraped knees and other minor pains.

Police said a fourth collision resulted in very minor damage. The drivers exchanged information, and no police report was taken.

Several drivers involved in the accidents said the glare of the sun low on the horizon was a factor. However, police investigators determined that the primary factor was driving at an unsafe speed for the conditions, according to Lt. Paul McCaffrey of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Traffic Sgt. Noel Rivas cautioned drivers to be aware that the sun, like other weather conditions, can reduce visibility. Drivers are required to be able to stop vehicles within the distance of potential hazards.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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