Wednesday, October 26 , 2016, 10:46 am | Fog/Mist 58º


Local News

Inmate-Transport Vans Struck After Driver Runs Red Light

Three people hospitalized after multi-vehicle crash in Santa Maria

Five people were injured in Santa Maria Monday when a pickup truck slammed into a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department prisoner-transport van that then careened into another inmate vehicle.

Maria Ponce-Rodriguez, the driver of a Toyota pickup, was eastbound on Betteravia Road when she allegedly ran a red light about 9:50 a.m. at Miller Street.

Her vehicle hit a county sheriff’s transport van that was southbound on Miller and driven by Deputy Matt Moreno, according to Sgt. Mark Streker of the Santa Maria Police Department. 

“In one of the strangest coincidences you’ll see in a long time, there also was a Santa Barbara County jail transport van sitting in the northbound Miller traffic waiting for the light to turn green,” Streker said. “When the Toyota truck hit the transport van, that van redirected into the opposing lane and struck its own counterpart.”

The southbound van had two inmates in it at the time of the accident.

In all, three people, including two inmates plus Ponce-Rodriguez, were taken to Marian Regional Medical Center for treatment. Two other people refused treatment at the scene, according Battalion Chief Mike Barneich of the Santa Maria Fire Department.

Two fire engines, a battalion chief and three American Medical Response ambulances responded to the incident.

One of the city's major intersections, Betteravia Road and Miller Street, were both heavily congested for nearly an hour after the accident, Streker added.

The pickup driver likely will be cited for allegedly running a red light, Streker 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.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >