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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 10:01 am | Fair 55º


Driver Faces Vehicular Manslaughter, DUI Charges In Fatal Santa Maria Crash

A driver charged in connection with a crash that killed a 25-year-old Santa Maria woman was ordered to return to Santa Barbara County Superior Court in two weeks.

Travis Dashek was told to return to Santa Maria courtroom on March 7, according to Deputy District Attorney Tristan Verburgt. 

When the case next returns to court, a preliminary hearing may be scheduled unless the prosecutor and defense attorney reach a plea agreement. 

Dashek, of Santa Maria, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs causing great bodily injuries to a pair of victims.

The criminal case against Dashek stems from a fiery crash Dec. 28, 2014, that killed Ashley Kerr, 25, a model and makeup artist.

She was a passenger in a Chevy Blazer pulling a trailer that went off the road and slammed into several trees and a sound wall before erupting into flames on the side of southbound Highway 101, near Donovan Road.

Kerr, who suffered major head trauma and burns, was trapped in the wreckage and was declared dead at the scene, leaving friends and family shocked at the loss.

The driver, Dashek, then 22, and another passenger, Kurt Hixenbaugh, then 21, escaped the wreckage. 

Both were taken to Marian Regional Medical Center for treatment of major injuries, the California Highway Patrol said.

Charges against Dashek originally were filed Aug. 4, 2015. 

Dashek is out of custody but terms include that he must refrain drug and alcohol use, the prosecutor said.

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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