Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 1:29 pm | Fair 74º


Local News

Injuries Reported in 5-Vehicle Crash on Highway 166 East of Santa Maria

A driver who made an unsafe passing movement caused the five-vehicle crash that left one person trapped with major injuries on Highway 166 east of Santa Maria on Thursday night, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

At approximately 8:30 p.m., personnel from the California Highway Patrol, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and CalFire responded to the incident west of Tepusquet Road.

Several ambulances and a CalStar medical helicopter also were dispatched to the crash scene.

Patrick Hourigan, 55, of Truckee was driving east on Highway 166 at approximately 55 mph in a 2012 Infinity FX35 when he crossed over double yellow lines in an attempt to pass another vehicle, the CHP said.

Hourigan apparently did not see four westbound vehicles driving 50 mph, and the front of his Infinity struck a Toyota Prius driven by Allison Starcher, 53, of Santa Monica.  

After the impact, Hourigan's vehicle struck three others before coming to a stop. 

Starcher was trapped in her car which blocked both lanes of traffic on the roadway.

She was taken by CalStar medical helicopter to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of a major injuries including a lacerated liver, rib fracture, ruptured spleen and fractured pelvis, the CHP said.

Hourigan had lacerations to his face and the driver of the third vehicle, Kenneth Delunas, 64, of Santa Ynez has an abrasion to his arm and pain in lower back, the CHP said.

The fourth vehicle, a 2016 Freightliner big-rig driven by Fausto Dominguez, 52, of Sun City, reportedly had flat tires. The driver was not injured.

Benjamin Smith, 42, of Santa Barbara, the driver of the fifth vehicle, a 2017 Toyota Highlander, also escaped injury, the CHP said. 

Authorities temporarily closed Highway 166 between Highway 101 near Santa Maria and Highway 33 in the Cuyama Valley for the helicopter to land and while wreckaged was removed.

The narrow two-lane roadway has seen heavier than normal traffic due to the closure of Highway 101 near Montecito because of flooding and mud after Tuesday's storm. 

With the closure, traffic has being detoured onto Highway 166 for travelers going to or coming from Interstate 5. 

The CHP said drugs and alcohol did not appear to be factors in the crash and that those involved wore seat belts.

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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