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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 5:46 am | Fair 46º


Woman Killed in Fiery Highway 166 Crash Near Cuyama

A 20-year-old woman was killed Tuesday evening in a fiery single-vehicle accident on Highway 166 east of New Cuyama.

Maritza Vargas Novoa of Cuyama died of blunt force trauma after she was ejected from a 1994 GMC Suburban in the crash on Highway 166 east of Highway 33, the California Highway Patrol said.

Santa Barbara County firefighters from Station 41 in New Cuyama, along with crews from Kern County and the U.S. Forest Service, responded at about 5:45 p.m. to the crash, according fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

The Suburban appeared to have rolled over and was engulfed in flames when the first units arrived, Zaniboni said.

“The 20-year-old solo female driver of the subject vehicle was reported to have been traveling at an unknown high rate of speed before making an unsafe turning moving to the right, causing the subject vehicle to leave the roadway and overturn down a dirt embankment,” the CHP said.

The driver, who did not appear to be wearing a seat belt, was ejected during the rollover. 

The vehicle continued to overturn and became fully engulfed in flames, causing the adjacent hillside and shrubs to catch on fire. 

Flames spread to nearby vegetation, but firefighters were able to quickly douse them and limit the area charred to about a tenth of an acre, Zaniboni said.


The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. 

CHP officers say it is not yet known if alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash, which remains under investigation pending further information and the results of toxicology tests.

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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