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Local News

2 People Killed, 4 Injured in Suspected DUI Crash on Highway 154 Near Los Olivos

All victims in 3-vehicle collision were from Santa Maria; Rigoberto Gracida Paucene arrested on drunken-driving charges

A three-vehicle crash killed two Santa Maria residents and injured four others early Sunday on Highway 154 west of Los Olivos.
A three-vehicle crash killed two Santa Maria residents and injured four others early Sunday on Highway 154 west of Los Olivos. (David Neels / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

Two Santa Maria residents were killed and four others were injured early Sunday in a multivehicle crash on Highway 154 near Los Olivos.

At approximately 2 a.m., personnel from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, American Medical Response and the California Highway Patrol were dispatched to Highway 154 east of Zaca Station Road, Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said.

Three vehicles were involved in the collision near the “S curve” on Highway 154, just east of the intersection with Highway 101.

According to the CHP, the crash occurred when an eastbound Nissan SUV, driven by Rigoberto Gracida Paucene, 30, drifted into the westbound lane, where it collided with a Honda Accord driven by Hamilton Dias Bonilla, 35.

The impact caused the Nisson to overturn, and it was struck from behind by a Dodge minivan driven by Aurelio Salvador Zaragoza, 43, the CHP said.

Bonilla and a passenger in the Dodge — Antonia Bautista Santiago, 50 — were declared dead at the scene.

Eliason said firefighters had to extricate victims from more than one vehicle, an effort that took 10 to 15 minutes.

Authorities say Zaragoza suffered major injuries and Antonio Rafael, 32, a passenger in the Honda, had moderate injuries. Another Honda passenger, Ricio Arroyo Cortes, had minor injuries.

All three were transported to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

Paucene was treated for minor injuries and then was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, the CHP said.

Officers from the CHP’s Buellton Area office were investigating the cause of the crash.

The crash occurred on the segment of Highway 154 unaffected by the Thomas Fire closures.

The CHP has closed Highway 154 between Cathedral Oaks Road/Highway 192 in Santa Barbara and Highway 246 in the Santa Ynez Valley to provide easier access for firefighters and equipment at a base camp established at Lake Cachuma.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.

Three vehicles were involved in a fatal crash on Highway 154 just east of the Highway 101 intersection. Click to view larger
Three vehicles were involved in a fatal crash on Highway 154 just east of the Highway 101 intersection. (David Neels / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
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