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Local News

Officials Still Haven’t Named Second Driver in Crash That Killed Lompoc Couple

Investigation by the Air Force is continuing into collision that claimed lives of Bertha and Ruben Betancourt

A memorial has been set up near the site on Santa Lucia Canyon Road where Bertha and Ruben Betancourt were killed in a head-on collision on Sunday. The name of the second driver still has not been released by U.S. Air Force officials. Click to view larger
A memorial has been set up near the site on Santa Lucia Canyon Road where Bertha and Ruben Betancourt were killed in a head-on collision on Sunday. The name of the second driver still has not been released by U.S. Air Force officials. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The second driver involved in a collision that killed a Lompoc couple on Sunday on Santa Lucia Canyon Road is a civilian from Georgia, U.S. Air Force officials said Wednesday, while releasing scant new details about the crash near Lompoc.

Few other details can be released about the crash, said 2nd Lt. William Collette, a Vandenberg Air Force Base spokesman, in response to questions submitted Monday.

The road is used by the public, but jurisdiction belongs to the Air Force, which is handling the investigation.

Bertha Betancourt, 57, and Ruben Betancourt, 51, both of Lompoc were killed in the Sunday afternoon head-on collision near the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex. 

Their son, Juan Betancourt, 31, of Oxnard was seriously injured in the crash.

A fourth person, who was not named, also was injured in the crash, emergency crews said Sunday.

Family members and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department had earlier identified the couple killed in the crash.

Beyond saying the second driver was a “vacationing civilian male from Georgia,” the Air Force remained mum about most details surrounding the collision, including his name, age and hometown, and whether drugs, alcohol or speed were believed to be factors in the crash.

“Since this is an ongoing investigation, I have released all the information I can at this time,” Collette said.

The investigation is being led by both the 30th Security Forces Squadron and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Vandenberg, Collette said.

By Wednesday, a GoFundMe page for the family of the crash victims had raised more than $8,600 toward the $10,000 goal for funeral and medical expenses.

Community members are rallying around the Betancourts’ children, including two sons and two daughters, in addition to several grandchildren.

A fundraiser is planned from 3 to 10 p.m.  Friday at Floriano’s Mexican Food in Lompoc, with $1 to be donated to the Betancourt family for every burrito or torta ordered, the restaurant’s Facebook page said.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Starbuck-Lind Mortuary in Lompoc, with visitation to begin at 4 p.m. Sept. 7 at the mortuary and the the rosary to be recited at 7 p.m. at the mortuary.

A funeral Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 8 at La Purisima Concepcion Catholic Church in Lompoc.

Burial will follow at Lompoc's Evergreen Cemetery. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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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