Friday, September 30 , 2016, 8:23 pm | Fair 65º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube
 
 
 
 

Local News

Big-Rig Driver Killed Near Quarry Was Solvang Man

The big-rig driver killed in a rollover accident after loading up at Bee Rock Quarry earlier this week was a Solvang man, according to the California Highway Patrol in Buellton.

Eric William Johnson, 76, worked for the Ben Johnson trucking company — no relation — when he was hauling a trailer of rock downhill from the quarry Monday morning.

His truck went off the road and rolled over, ejecting him from the vehicle.

Johnson was declared dead at the scene from blunt-force trauma.

The accident happened around 11:30 a.m. on the quarry access road just south of Highway 154, which is private property directly across from the Bradbury Dam road, the County Fire Department said.

The CHP is investigating why the truck drifted to the right and struck the hillside, lost control and ultimately ran off the left side of the road, where it rolled over.

Investigators are also looking into whether any mechanical issues or any medical conditions the driver had could have contributed to the crash.

The investigation likely will be done next week, according to the CHP Buellton Office. 

In 2010, a big-rig truck driver leaving the quarry lost control of his brakes while going southbound – and downhill – on Highway 154 and crashed into a home near the Hope Ranch Inn, killing a family of three.

Joaquin Garcia Morales, the driver, pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular manslaughter in that case.

Leon Leonel, 23; his wife, Lorena Guadalupe-Tellez Pacheco; and their son, Jaciel Tellez, 8, a Franklin Elementary School third-grader, were killed after Morales plowed into the family’s house at 4119 State St.

Details emerged after the crash that Morales had a history of driving citations and that the truck had brake problems even before leaving the quarry, where it picked up a load to bring the truck’s weight to 80,000 pounds.

That accident prompted county officials to discuss Highway 154 safety and possible restrictions on trucks carrying heavy or hazardous freight.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli 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.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

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 through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



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 >