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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 7:32 am | Fair 51º


Bill Macfadyen: Freeway Lane Not Big Enough for Motorcycle Crash Course

NoozWeek’s Top 5 ducks an airborne wreck, says goodbye to Andrew Darke, checks into a Miramar hotel update, and finds a fatal fall at a mall

End of the road. Click to view larger
End of the road. (Joyce Roberson / KEYT News photo)

There were 107,956 people who read Noozhawk this past week, according to our Google Analytics.

The names of those using a pseudonym are classified and will not be released. Ironic, isn’t it?

Here’s my unredacted take on your top five stories:

1. Nipomo Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash on Highway 101 in Carpinteria

A Nipomo man died early Sept. 28 when he crashed his motorcycle during the morning commute on northbound Highway 101 in Carpinteria.

According to California Highway Patrol Officer Jonathan Gutierrez, the three-vehicle wreck occurred at 7:40 a.m. near Santa Monica Road.

He said 29-year-old Jacob David Franks was riding his 2003 Suzuki Hayabusa “between the left and right lanes” when he collided with the driver’s side of a Chevy Trailblazer in the right lane before veering into the left lane and slamming into the back of a Honda Civic.

And that was that. Like a pinball, Franks was thrown from the bike and pronounced dead at the scene, Gutierrez said.

He said witnesses reported that the motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed before the collision.

At that time of day, the congested two-lane freeway is notorious for motorcyclists “lane splitting” their way through traffic. For the life of me, I don’t understand how such a practice is legal. It’s insane.

Both northbound lanes were closed for around two hours while authorities investigated the crash and cleaned up the mess.

The other drivers — Juan C. Garcia, 43, of Ventura, in the Trailblazer, and Deateria Dickinson, 54, of Port Hueneme, in the Civic — were not injured in the collision.

They lived. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)
They lived. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

2. Man Injured as Car Goes Airborne in Santa Barbara Crash

A car crash on Santa Barbara’s Upper Eastside was so loud the night of Sept. 27 that neighbors streamed out to see what was going on, thinking it was some kind of explosion.

According to Santa Barbara Fire Capt. Brian Porter, the driver of a Subaru lost control of the car as he traveled west on Constance Avenue near Anacapa Street as the street curves from Garden Street. The car went airborne, taking out two trees and two utility poles.

The male driver suffered moderate back injuries, Porter said, and he was transported by American Medical Response ambulance to nearby Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

A small child, strapped into a car seat in the backseat, was shaken up but escaped injury.

Police Sgt. Riley Harwood said a preliminary investigation indicated that the driver suffered some kind of a medical problem before the crash.

The man’s identity and condition were not disclosed, and it was not immediately clear what happened to the child.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

3. Andrew David Darke of Goleta, 1965-2016

Heartfelt condolences to the family of Andrew Darke, a Goleta dad, husband, volunteer, businessman and retired naval officer, who died of an unexpected heart condition Sept. 26. He was just 51.

Andrew Darke, 1965-2016. (Darke family photo)
Andrew Darke, 1965-2016. (Darke family photo)

Darke was a very busy senior executive at Patterson Connect, which assists dental professionals in buying and selling their practices, or forming and ending partnerships.

It was in his spare time that he had perhaps the most impact on the community. From coaching baseball to attending piano recitals to helping with wife Debbie’s nonprofit volunteer activities, he was everywhere.

Known for an infectious smile and a laid-back attitude, Darke was happiest when he was around his family: Debbie and their children, Bella, Drew and Gino.

“He was simply our world,” Debbie told me.

In 2014, Bella was honored with the Goleta’s Finest Student of the Year Award by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce as well as Goleta Teen of the Year by the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime.

The Dos Pueblos High School alumna and now-UCLA sophomore was richly deserving of the accolades, and she delivered the most gracious acceptance remarks you’ve ever heard a teenager say.

At each of the events I had the opportunity to watch her dad while he was watching her, and I’ve just never seen a prouder father. His was a look of pure joy and a full heart, and that memory has remained with me as I know it will with Bella. We should all convey such adoration with our kids.

Andrew’s presence on this Top 5 list is further testament to the lives he touched in our community. Although our Obituaries section draws the third most readership of any category on Noozhawk, it’s unusual for an individual obituary to make our weekly compilation of the Top 5 most-read articles. In fact, he was just a couple of dozen reads out of second place.

R.I.P. Andrew. You were an inspiration.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 3 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Goleta Valley South Little League complex, 4540 Hollister Ave. in Santa Barbara.

Looks good from here. (Caruso Affiliated rendering)
Looks good from here. (Caruso Affiliated rendering)

4. Miramar Beach Luxury Hotel Project Expected to Open in Summer 2018

For nearly 20 years now, the old Miramar Hotel property has been a derelict gateway for Montecito, first as a ramshackle ghost town and, since 2012, as a vacant lot.

Things are about to change, and the oceanfront Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito luxury resort is now expected to open within two years.

“We are pleased to be underway with construction and to bring the Miramar back to this wonderful community,” said Liz Jaeger, senior vice president of public relations for the developer, Caruso Affiliated. “We look forward to opening in summer 2018.”

When completed, the 16-acre hotel property on South Jameson Lane will have 161 “ultra-luxury” guestrooms in one-story cottages and bungalows, a signature restaurant, an oceanfront restaurant and bar, two swimming pools, a spa, a fitness center and a 6,000-square-foot ballroom.

Site and building construction will begin in February and continue until the summer of 2018.

What’s with the looky-loos? (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
What’s with the looky-loos? (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

5. Santa Maria Police Investigating Fatal Fall at Mall Parking Garage​

A man fell to his death from the parking garage at the Santa Maria Town Center mall the afternoon of Sept. 24, but foul play is not suspected.

Family and friends rally behind Shepherd Saenz with GoFundMe. (Saenz family photo)
Family and friends rally behind Shepherd Saenz with GoFundMe. (Saenz family photo)

Santa Maria police officers were dispatched to the mall at 5:15 p.m. Upon arrival, they found the lifeless body of a man in the street between the mall and the three-story parking structure.

Shepherd Saenz, 42, of Santa Maria, was identified as the dead man.

Sgt. Paul Flores said foul play is not suspected, but the cause and manner of death will be determined by the Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office.

A GoFundMe page has been started to collect money for burial expenses. Click here to make an online donation.

Click here for suicide prevention resources available 24 hours a day in Santa Barbara County.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Haggen Grocery Store Officially Exiting Santa Barbara County.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

A class act from a Class Act for a Class Act: Dee Gordon Hits His First Home Run of the Year in Tribute to Jose Fernandez.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It


(Nils Rohwer video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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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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