Saying that Santa Barbara has “lost its brightest light,” friends and co-workers are continuing to mourn the loss of Joshua Canning, a city employee who was killed on his bicycle early Tuesday morning after being struck by a vehicle on Cliff Drive.
Just after midnight on Tuesday, police received a call reporting an injury traffic collision on Cliff Drive near the Flora Vista intersection, and responding officers found 44-year-old Canning lying in the roadway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Canning was reportedly riding his bicycle westbound in the No. 1, or fast lane, of Cliff Drive without bike lights and wearing dark clothing when he was struck by a vehicle also traveling westbound, and police say Canning is most likely responsible for the crash.
Friends described Canning as “the quintessential Santa Barbara guy who loved surfing, biking, beach sunsets and his huge circle of best friends.”
“No one embodied the very nature of Santa Barbara like JC did,” said Jeff Clark, a friend of Canning’s. “I will forever miss your brilliant smiles, barrel chested laugh, bear hugs and awesomely unique good nature. I have never ever known anyone as positive and genuinely friendly as he. Santa Barbara will not be the same without him ever again. Godspeed, my friend.”
He is survived by his sister, Allison Canning Curtis, his mother, Patricia Canning, and his father, Joseph Canning, all of Santa Barbara.
Canning had worked for the City of Santa Barbara since 2007 as the senior plant operator at the El Estero Waste Water Treatment Plant.
Many at the City of Santa Barbara were grieving the loss of their co-worker, including Christopher Toth, wastewater system manager.
Toth said Canning was a positive person who always performed his job well and knew everyone at work by their first names.
“When he saw co-workers around town on the weekends, he would always smile, wave to them and chat with them if close by,” Toth said. “He was well liked by everyone who knew him.”
Mayor Helene Schneider called Canning’s death a tragic loss for the city family.
“This is a sudden and tragic loss,” she wrote to Noozhawk on behalf of the city. “My thoughts and deepest condolences go to Mr. Canning’s family, friends and colleagues.”
Canning’s family is asking for people to make donations to Heal the Ocean in his name in lieu of flowers by mailing them to P. O. Box 90106, Santa Barbara, CA 93190.