Pixel Tracker

Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 3:27 pm | Partly Cloudy 61º


UCSB Student’s Death Ignites Furor Over Circumstances of Emergency Response

Officials refute claims by some that lack of urgency, racism hindered rescue of Andy Sanchez, who apparently sliced open arm and bled to death

A vigil was held last week for Andres “Andy” Esteban Sanchez, a UC Santa Barbara student who apparently bled to death after allegedly punching a window. Questions have been raised about the actions of first responders in the case — allegations that authorities strongly deny.
A vigil was held last week for Andres “Andy” Esteban Sanchez, a UC Santa Barbara student who apparently bled to death after allegedly punching a window. Questions have been raised about the actions of first responders in the case — allegations that authorities strongly deny. (Stephen Manga / Daily Nexus photo)

[Noozhawk’s note: Andres “Andy” Esteban Sanchez was 19 at the time of his death. As a result of an editing error, his age was incorrect in an earlier version. The story has been updated below.]

Andy Esteban Sanchez, 19, of Poway, was a second-year pre-biology major at UCSB. Click to view larger
Andy Esteban Sanchez, 19, of Poway, was a second-year pre-biology major at UCSB. (Facebook photo)

Questions are being raised about the death of a UC Santa Barbara student who suffered massive blood loss from a severe laceration he received after apparently punching a plate-glass window.

Authorities say 19-year-old Andres “Andy” Esteban Sanchez slammed his right arm through an apartment window last weekend while allegedly under the influence of a controlled substance.

Some witnesses have publicly asserted that first responders should have been able to prevent the Oct. 11 death of the second-year pre-biology major from Poway, in San Diego County.

But Santa Barbara County sheriff’s and fire officials reject that claim, saying their personnel acted professionally and did everything they could to save him.

The ordeal began at 4:39 a.m. that Sunday when emergency dispatchers began receiving 9-1-1 calls reporting a medical emergency in the 6700 block of Abrego Road, west of Camino del Sur.

According to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, a man bleeding from the arm was running around in the street screaming for help.

“The victim, Andres Sanchez, suffered from a large laceration around his right arm, near the elbow,” she said. “The injury was later determined to have been caused by the victim punching his arm through a plate-glass window.

“Sanchez was combative and displayed symptoms of being under the influence of a controlled substance.”

Witnesses told deputies that Sanchez began running around, yelling and acting strangely after punching the window.

“He was bleeding profusely,” Hoover said. “Several of the witnesses attempted to restrain Sanchez and provide first aid.”

According to Hoover, Sanchez’s roommate believed he “may have ingested some type of synthetic drug, possibly LSD or K2.”

Emergency personnel eventually were able to restrain Sanchez on a backboard and he was transported by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

There in the emergency room, Hoover said, he became unresponsive and was pronounced dead just before 7 a.m.

Five college students came forward as witnesses to criticize deputies during a UCSB Associated Students Senate meeting Wednesday, according to an article in the Daily Nexus, the university’s student newspaper.

They alleged that emergency dispatchers didn’t take initial 9-1-1 calls seriously or respond quickly enough to the incident.

​They also claimed deputies mishandled interactions with Sanchez, and lacked urgency and proper medical equipment to tend to his severe injuries.

They further alleged that first responders acted too harshly and discriminated against Sanchez and some witnesses because they were Hispanic.

A candlelight vigil for Sanchez was held Thursday night outside the Associated Students Pardall Center. A Facebook page created for the event called the incident a “wrongful death.”

“As a Latino youth, he is representative of a large student population and youth population here in Isla Vista,” the page states. “His death pleads us to enter into conversation about the interactions between law enforcement and black and brown bodies, as well as the lack of services available to these communities in I.V.”

Sheriff’s and fire officials strongly rejected those characterizations and the allegations.

A timeline released Friday by the Sheriff’s Department, shows that emergency personnel were en route to the scene almost immediately.

According to the dispatch log, a county Fire Department engine and an American Medical Response ambulance were assigned within 30 seconds of the first 9-1-1 call. An Isla Vista Foot Patrol unit was on the way less than two minutes later.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived within five minutes of the call.

“The notion that any of the first responders — from dispatchers, to paramedics, to deputies—  in any way did not care about this UCSB student, and did anything but try to promptly get him the medical care he needed, is absolutely not true and goes against the motivations of everyone involved,” Hoover said in a statement.

“We know this was a stressful and emotional scene, and commend those who did their best to try to help Andres Sanchez.

“The sheriff’s office is made up of professionals of all different races and does not tolerate racial discrimination whatsoever. There is zero validity to any claims regarding race in this tragedy.”

The Fire Department released a similar statement rejecting the idea that first responders fell short in their duties and interactions.

“Our members treat every emergency with urgency and professionalism,” fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said in the statement. “Engine 11’s crew on Oct. 11 included an experienced team of firefighters and paramedics.

“Every effort was made to provide the very best care and life-saving measures for this young man.”

The cause and manner of death were still under investigation by the sheriff’s Coroner’s Office on Friday.

Katya Armistead, associate dean of Student Life & Activities, sent a message to the campus community last week to share the sad news and to offer students counseling services if needed.

“Andy will be missed by his friends and family both here and in Poway, as well as by the students, staff and faculty who had the privilege of knowing him during his time at UCSB,” she wrote.

“It is always heartbreaking to lose a member of our community, and my thoughts are with Andy’s family and his friends who have been personally impacted. Losing a fellow Gaucho reminds us all to take good care of one another.”

The Associated Students set up a GoFundMe donation site to help Sanchez’s family with funeral expenses.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.

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 using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

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 >