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One Dead, 2 Hurt in Highway 154 Crash Near Painted Cave

Accident was one of several on a rare rainy June day in Santa Barbara County

One person died and two others were injured Tuesday night in a crash on Highway 154 above Santa Barbara.
One person died and two others were injured Tuesday night in a crash on Highway 154 above Santa Barbara. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

A Camarillo man was killed and two other people were injured Tuesday night in a crash off Highway 154 near Painted Cave Road, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and California Highway Patrol.

The accident, one of several on Highway 154 on a rare rainy June day, occurred at about 7:20 p.m. just east of Painted Cave Road, said fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

According to the CHP, a Camarillo family was westbound on Highway 154 in a Toyota Tundra when the driver lost control at a curve in the roadway and the vehicle ran off the road, down an embankment and struck a large oak tree. 

“The force of the impact, coupled with the fact that the 57-year-old rear passenger was not wearing his seatbelt, resulted in that passenger being partially ejected from a side window and suffering fatal injuries,” CHP Officer John Gutierrez said in a report. 

Benito Cheng, 57, of Camarillo died in the collision.

The driver, 66-year-old Rusty Flores, and front passenger, 68-year-old Jovita Flores, were both transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and treated for moderate injuries, including lacerations and abrasions, according to the CHP. 

Alcohol and drugs did not play a factor in the collision, the CHP said.

In the accident report, Gutierrez noted that, “had the rear passenger been wearing his seatbelt, it would have likely saved his life.”

The accident is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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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