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Bill Macfadyen

Bill Macfadyen: Our Highway Crash Course Has Really Gotten Out of Hand This Time

Bernie Sanders provides a lone diversion in a NoozWeek Top 5 that’s full of escalating roadway carnage and driving us to distraction

Sit tight.
Sit tight. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)


Who hasn’​t made a $1.9 million pledge to wounded veterans and forgotten to pay it? It happens all the time, right?

Meanwhile, there were 113,222 people who read Noozhawk this past week. Here’​s my take on your top five stories, as determined by our Google Analytics.

1. 8 People Injured in Highway 154 Crash Near Santa Barbara​

A May 29 head-on collision on — where else? — Highway 154 left eight people injured, five of them seriously.

As our Tom Bolton first reported, the three-car crash was reported just after 10 a.m. in the Windy Gap area, about a half-mile north of San Antonio Creek Road in the foothills above Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said a sedan had plunged about 30 feet off the roadway, trapping three people who required extensive extrication by firefighters.

One had major injuries and the two others had moderate injuries; all three were transported by American Medical Response ambulances to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Wreckage from the other two vehicles — a sedan and a minivan — was strewn about the highway. Three people in one of those vehicles were seriously injured, one of whom had to be extricated; they were all carted off to Cottage Hospital.

Two people in the third vehicle suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

Does that total eight? I’m a math-challenged journalist.

No identities were released, and patient conditions were not available.

Witnesses reported morning drizzle and a slick roadway at the time of the wreck, but the California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause.

The highway was shut down for several hours afterward.

Bernie Sanders was mobbed by his enthusiastic crowd sources at Santa Barbara City College. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)
Bernie Sanders was mobbed by his enthusiastic crowd sources at Santa Barbara City College. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

2. Bernie Sanders Brings Message of Political Revolution to Rallies in Santa Barbara County

Last week, Bernie Sanders finished in second place in my Best of Bill compilation. He came in second again this week.

It will be really interesting to see whether the Democratic presidential candidate will finish second — or first — in next week’s California primary.

At this late stage, he’s not just in the ballpark to win the Golden State outright on June 7, he’s on the field and seems to be running circles around the Democratic Party’s favored rival, Hillary Clinton.

Sanders “bern-stormed” through Santa Barbara County on May 28, holding packed rallies on a foggy morning at Santa Barbara City College and a sunny afternoon at Santa Maria High School. Our Sam Goldman, Janene Scully, Giana Magnoli and Ryan Cullom provided team coverage.

At each location — SBCC’s West Campus meadow and SMHS’ Dave Boyd Field — an estimated 6,000 supporters lined up to see the Vermont senator, most of them arriving hours ahead of time to revel in the festive, “Feel the Bern” atmosphere. His fans weren’t disappointed.

“In my view, a great nation is judged not by how many billionaires it has or by how many nuclear weapons it has,” Sanders told his SBCC crowd.

“It is treated by how it responds to the needs of the weakest and most vulnerable in that country.”

Emphasizing the need to eliminate inequality, he brought his message home.

“When you talk about an unfair and unequal economy, in fact, Santa Barbara — right here — is one of the 10 most expensive ZIP codes in the country,” he said.

“But with all of the wealth in this community, Santa Barbara County has the fourth-highest poverty rate in California.”

At the Santa Maria rally, Fariba Khallaghi of San Luis Obispo called Sanders’ presence on the Central Coast “just incredible.”

“Every single thing that he says,” she added. “There is hope.”​

3. Man Injured in Jump From Vehicle on Highway 101 Near Montecito

For the second time this year, a passenger leaped from a moving vehicle on Highway 101 and somehow avoided being run over.

According to Santa Barbara Fire Capt. Brian Walsh, a small SUV was traveling south at freeway speed about 10 a.m. May 30 when a back-seat passenger on the driver’s side suddenly opened the door and jumped west of the Hot Springs Road exit ramp.

He said the man, who appeared to be in his 50s, suffered extensive “road rash” and other possible injuries, and he was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

“The driver and passenger in the front seat said they had no idea that was going to happen,” Walsh said.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident, which forced traffic to a crawl.

On April 13, a woman took a dive out of a moving car on Highway 101 near Padaro Lane in Carpinteria. She suffered major injuries, but trailing traffic managed to stop without hitting her.

Anyone see an engine around here? (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
Anyone see an engine around here? (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

4. Crash Halts Northbound Highway 101 Traffic West of Goleta​

A multivehicle crash brought Highway 101 traffic to a standstill west of Goleta on May 27, just as the Memorial Day weekend exodus was reaching critical mass.

According to the California Highway Patrol, a southbound vehicle crossed over into the northbound lanes near El Capitán Ranch just before 5 p.m. and slammed into an oncoming car. A pickup truck overturned in the wreck and came to rest on its side, scattering dirt bikes and luggage everywhere.

One person suffered moderate injuries and was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The CHP is investigating the cause of the collision, which shut down northbound lanes for about a half-hour.

No injuries? That’s a first. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)
No injuries? That’s a first. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

5. No Injuries in 5-Vehicle Crash on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

Had enough highway carnage yet? Buckle up; we’re not done.

Just after 9 p.m. May 30, a five-vehicle collision shut down northbound Highway 101 in Santa Barbara.

Although two of the cars spun off the highway, with one of them coming to rest upside on its roof, there were no injuries in the wreck. That’s right, no injuries.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Oil-Coated Sea Lion Makes Escape from Truck on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

There was something phishy about the message, but this wary webster was no fool for love: Seductive Spambot Foiled in Quest for Credit-Card Information.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

Can you say awwwwww? And this happy reunion happened in Morro Bay.

This is basically the happiest vid... - The Marine Mammal Center | Facebook

(The Marine Mammal Center video via Popular Science)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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