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Officials ID Jogger Killed by Motorist as Santa Ynez Man

Deer Trail
A makeshift memorial has been set up where a Ryuta Yamaguchi of Santa Ynez died last week after being hit by a driver while jogging on Refugio Road. (Dave Bemis photo)

Authorities on Thursday identified Ryuta Yamaguchi as the 45-year-old Santa Ynez man who died last week when he was struck by a vehicle while jogging in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Yamaguchi was jogging north on Refugio Road near Deer Trail Lane shortly after 6:30 a.m. last Friday when he was struck, according to the California Highway Patrol, which is still investigating the incident.

Yamaguchi was hit by a driver — identified as Grace Cota, 89, of Solvang — of a Ford minivan that was eastbound on Deer Trail and stopped at Refugio, CHP Officer John Ortega said.

The CHP this week offered no other details about what might have caused the minivan to strike Yamaguchi as both entered the intersection.

Yamaguchi was transported to Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Ortega previously said intoxication does not appear to be a factor in the accident, which remained under investigation.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department released Yamaguchi’s name Thursday after spending several days trying to contact next of kin, who live outside the area.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.

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