Monday, August 20 , 2018, 9:55 pm | A Few Clouds with Haze 67º


Local News

Driver Fatally Injured in Collision With MTD Bus in Santa Barbara

Collision occurred on Cliff Drive at Rancheria Street; bus driver also taken to the hospital with injuries

The driver of a Mercedes-Benz died of her injuries Wednesday after colliding with a MTD bus on Cliff Drive. The white powder was sprinkled to contain fuel and other fluid leaks from the crashed vehicle. Click to view larger
The driver of a Mercedes-Benz died of her injuries Wednesday after colliding with a MTD bus on Cliff Drive. The white powder was sprinkled to contain fuel and other fluid leaks from the crashed vehicle.  (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

A woman was fatally injured Wednesday when her vehicle crashed into a MTD bus on Cliff Drive, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

The accident at Cliff Drive and Rancheria Street was reported at about 10:45 a.m., police spokesman Anthony Wagner said.

The driver of a Mercedes apparently was eastbound when she struck a curb and ricocheted into westbound traffic, colliding with the Metropolitan Transit District bus, Wagner said. 

He later elaborated in a statement, "the driver of the sedan appears to have first driven on to the sidewalk, collided with a rock wall on the southeast side of Cliff Drive, then careened fully across the double-yellow lines of the road hitting a safety railing on the opposing side of traffic, then ricocheted into the path of the bus." 

The Mercedes driver, a 72-year-old Santa Barbara woman, was the only occupant of the vehicle and suffered “multiple and severe injuries,” Wagner said.

Witnesses told Noozhawk that paramedics performed CPR at the scene before the woman was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital by AMR ambulance

She later died of her injuries, Wagner said. Authorities initially identified the driver as a woman in her mid-50s. 

Her name was being withheld pending notification of her next of kin. 

The bus driver was transported to the hospital with moderate injuries. 

There were 14 passengers on the bus at the time of the collision, but none of them reported injuries, Wagner added.

The vehicle appears to have “bounced off the bus,” with the Mercedes’ driver side hitting the passenger side of the bus, according to Wagner.

Santa Barbara Police Department officers were on the scene and the Santa Barbara City Fire Department also responded to the crash.

No other vehicles appear to have been involved in the collision.

Wagner said that authorities had received a 9-1-1 call of a reckless driver eastbound on Cliff Drive minutes before the accident was reported, and part of the investigation will look into whether the reported reckless vehicle is the same as the crashed Mercedes.

"From the description, it may be the same vehicle involved in both incidents," Wagner said. 

Cliff Drive was closed to traffic for several hours while the SBPD Critical Accident Team responded to investigate the scene.

As of 3:30 p.m., Cliff Drive was still closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic between Loma Alta and Castillo Street, according to Santa Barbara City College, which has its East Campus entrance near Loma Alta. SBCC suggests drivers use an alternate route during the afternoon commute.  

MTD said Wednesday that there was a temporary stop closure at West Montecito and Rancheria streets, but the SBCC stop was still served. 

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story. 

Police ask witnesses to contact SBPD traffic collision investigator Ethan Ragsdale at 805.897.3719.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli 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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