Thursday, October 18 , 2018, 9:56 pm | Fair 58º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez On Medical Leave After Traffic Accident

Truck tire slammed through the windshield of his city-owned vehicle on Highway 101

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez was injured last week when a truck tire slammed into his city-owned vehicle on Highway 101 in Carpinteria.
Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez was injured last week when a truck tire slammed into his city-owned vehicle on Highway 101 in Carpinteria. (KEYT News photo)

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez is on leave this week recovering with minor injuries sustained in a traffic accident late last week.

Sanchez is expected to be out all week after receiving a concussion and a number of abrasions when a tire from another vehicle flew into his city-issued Ford Explorer on southbound Highway 101 last Friday, according to police Sgt. Riley Harwood.

Sanchez had been traveling with his wife and his daughter’s husband to Los Angeles International Airport at about 6:15 a.m. when a wheel from the northbound lane struck his vehicle south of Bates Road near Carpinteria — whizzing through the windshield past the two front passengers and caving in the front of the vehicle, Harwood said.

“It was pretty significant,” he said.

All three passengers — who were traveling to pick up Sanchez’s daughter, Victoria, a former KEYT anchor who now works in Denver — were taken via ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with minor injuries and were released later that day.

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez is on leave this week recovering from injuries sustained in a traffic accident late last week. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez is on leave this week recovering from injuries sustained in a traffic accident late last week. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The collision involved three total vehicles, including a Subaru that also was traveling southbound and an unknown vehicle — likely a semi trailer — that lost a tire from the northbound lanes and kept on driving, according to Ventura California Highway Patrol Officer Ron Erickson.

Erickson said the collision was listed as a hit-an-run and that the investigating officer was out this week for training, so he didn’t have all the details.

“It’s possible a truck could keep driving and not know,” he said, noting the driver might not be at fault. “Those can do a lot of damage.”

Santa Barbara police also responded to the accident, and a police watch commander on duty directed an officer not normally assigned to enforcement to continue on to retrieve Sanchez’s daughter, Harwood said.

Sanchez had been driving a city-owned vehicle, he said, since as a department head he can choose between that or getting a stipend for personal vehicle expenses.

“I can tell you for certain it wasn’t (the chief’s) decision,” Harwood said of directing an officer to spend five hours and $300 worth of time to go to LAX. “That’s kind of in line with our organization culture.”

Harwood said other police administrators have supported the decision to send an officer to LAX, and that it wasn’t a violation of city policy.

City Administrator Paul Casey referred all questions and comment to the Police Department.

Harwood said city officials were informed of the incident Friday, and that Sanchez has been in regular communication with senior department staff from home.

On-duty personnel are handling day-to-day operations in the chief’s absence, and Harwood said he hopes Sanchez will be able to return next week in time for a presentation before Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday.

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.

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