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Bill Macfadyen: A Tragic Crash in Goleta Raises Questions about Worrisome Intersection

NoozWeek's Top 5 is a grim report, chock-full of death and destruction, but it ends in the peacefull place of a Sacred Space in Summerland

What were you reading on Noozhawk this week?

1. Pedestrian Killed, Toddler Critically Injured in Goleta Collision

A 59-year-old woman was killed and her 20-month-old relative critically injured late on the afternoon of Nov. 11 when they were struck by a car on Cathedral Oaks Road near Goleta Valley Junior High School.

Authorities say the woman, later identified as Shuguang Lui of Beijing, was pushing the toddler in a stroller in the crosswalk at Santa Marguerita Drive about 5:20 p.m. when they were hit by a car driven by an 18-year-old Goleta resident.

The toddler remains in critical condition but is said to be recovering well at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, according to Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Hoover said the sheriff’s Major Accident Response Team was still investigating the collision and no other details would be released for the time being.

Noozhawk has requested the name of the driver but the Sheriff's Department is withholding the identity, with each party citing a different section of the California Vehicle Code to make its point.

Meanwhile, Goleta Valley Junior High Principal Veronica Rogers said the intersection where Lui died has long been of concern among parents and administrators at the campus.

She said school safety council and PTA members have worked with City of Goleta officials to install pedestrian-activated blinking crossing lights at the intersection. In a disturbing case of bad timing, the project isn't expected to go out to bid until December, with installation next year.

“It’s a tragic opportunity to remind people to be safe,” Rogers said. “That’s an area where parents will drop off kids. Lots of kids come from the north side of Cathedral Oaks. People go pretty fast through there.”

Our Gina Potthoff reviewed collision records for the intersection but found only a handful of accidents, all caused by drivers either traveling at an unsafe speed in the 40 mph zone or following too closely to the vehicle in front of them.

There wasn't much left of this Saturn sedan after it was slammed by a Chevy Suburban on Carrillo Hill. The driver died and two other people were injured. (Urban Hikers photo)
There wasn't much left of this Saturn sedan after it was slammed by a Chevy Suburban on Carrillo Hill. The driver died and two other people were injured. (Urban Hikers photo)

2. One Person Killed, Two Injured in Santa Barbara Crash

Anyone who's driven up Carrillo Hill from Santa Barbara's Westside knows it can be a bit of a raceway as drivers jockey for position heading up to the Mesa.

Anyone's who's tried to make a turn onto Carrillo knows you take your life in your hands when you do. On the night of Nov. 11, a Chevy Suburban driving up the hill broadsided a Saturn sedan that had pulled in front of it from Chino Street.

The Saturn driver — identified by Santa Barbara police as Jose Maria Cuen Duran, 59, of Santa Barbara — was rushed to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Two other people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

3. Suspect Arrested in Fatal Hit and Run On Highway 154

A Ventura man with an identity crisis turned himself in to authorities after a fiery hit and run — literally — collision in the Santa Ynez Valley that left a Santa Cruz motorcyclist dead.

Whether this is Luis Diaz or Jose Morales, authorities believe they've got their man.
Whether this is Luis Diaz or Jose Morales, authorities believe they've got their man.

The crash happened late on the night of Nov. 8 at the intersection of Highways 154 and 246. The California Highway Patrol said Joe Corcoran, 33, of Santa Cruz, was riding his Harley-Davidson Sportster eastbound on 154 when a westbound Toyota Camry turned left right in front of him, hitting him head-on and then bursting into flames.

Corcoran suffered major injuries and was declared dead at the scene. The driver of the Camry fled on foot, vanishing into the night.

The CHP eventually determined that they were looking for 28-year-old Luis Diaz, who apparently goes by the name of Jose Morales when it suits him. He turned himself in to Ventura police five days later, was transferred to Santa Barbara County custody and booked into County Jail.

The District Attorney’s Office has charged him with gross vehicular homicide while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing injury, and hit and run when the accident results in death. The DUI charge includes an enhancement of infliction of great bodily injury.

4. Parents Arrested after Infant Suffers Brain Injury

A Santa Barbara infant became one of the latest innocent victims of alleged drug and alcohol abuse after her father dropped her on the floor and then apparently fell on her head, fracturing her skull and leaving her with a life-threatening brain injury.

Maria Rodriguez
Maria Rodriguez
Joshua Rodriguez
Joshua Rodriguez

According to Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood, the dim-witted dad then failed to tell his wife what he had done to their daughter. To make already tragic matters much, much worse, mom was apparently just as clueless.

Although the mother noticed — several hours later — that the girl's head was becoming bruised and swollen, she did nothing, Harwood said.

Several hours after that, he said, she could see that the entire right side of her daughter’s face was bruised, her right eye was swollen shut, and her head was misshapen. But she did nothing.

It wasn't until another four hours had passed that the woman finally decided to take the girl to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. In short order, police were summoned to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and, soon after, Daddy Dearest, aka Joshua Alexander Rodriguez, 27, of Santa Barbara, was arrested. His wife, Maria Christina Rodriguez, 25, was arrested later in the day.

Facing charges of child endangerment under circumstances likely to cause great bodily harm or death, the couple was booked into County Jail.

Rodriguez, who police say was under the influence of THC and alcohol at the time of his fall, was being held on bail of $500,000, while his wife's bail was set at $100,000.

Harwood said the infant was placed in the custody of county Child Welfare Services. Here's praying she can overcome the heart-breaking start to her life.

Rose Herschorn in her garden state of serenity, which can be found at The Sacred Space in Summerland. (Judy Foreman / Noozhawk photo via iPhone)
Rose Herschorn in her garden state of serenity, which can be found at The Sacred Space in Summerland. (Judy Foreman / Noozhawk photo via iPhone)

5. Judy Foreman: Oprah Winfrey Finds a Sure Thing in Summerland’s Sacred Space

Sheesh. After a week like that, who wouldn't need to retreat to a sacred space?

Fortunately, our Judy Foreman had just the destination: The Sacred Space, Rose and Jack Herschorn's oasis of tranquility and inspiration in the heart of Summerland.

With a Who's Who of the rich and famous for clients (like Oprah Winfrey), and many more who are not-so-rich nor famous, the Herschorns have created a labyrinth of enchantment at their shop at 2594 Lillie Ave. Judy wandered through, captivated by the music in the air, the relaxing visual environment and the calming floral scents with a hint of the Far East.

After taking it all in, she sat down and typed it all out. Her verdict? It's divine. Check it out yourself.

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery.]

                                                                         •        •

Last week, we watched Freaks and Geeks' Bill Haverchuck dance like there's no tomorrow. This Boston Celtics fan may have outdone him.

(José Durán 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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