Two people were injured, one seriously, Monday when their SUV plunged some 200 feet down a steep hillside along Highway 154 and came to rest on its roof, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The incident was reported at about 8:30 a.m. just west of San Antonio Creek Road, said CHP Officer James Richards.
Conditions were overcast with light rain, and the pavement was wet when the driver of a 2000 Mitsubishi Montero, heading east toward Santa Barbara, drifted off the roadway, Richards said.
“Tire tracks on the dirt and vegetated shoulder depict the path the Mitsubishi traveled before it overturned and descended down the streep embankment,” Richards said.
Another motorist caught a glimpse of the car going over the edge, and called 911, Richards said.
Officer Daniel Ayala, who was patrolling Highway 154 at the time, responded to the scene and made his way down the hillside, where he provided aid to the SUV’s occupants.
Maribel Garcia, 45, of Los Angeles had suffered major injuries, and was trapped in the front passenger seat, Richards said.
The driver, Oscar Ortega, 44, of Los Angeles, suffered moderate injuries, but was able to exit the overturned vehicle.
Emergency crews used a rope system to reach the victims, said Capt. David Sadecki of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Maribel Garcia was freed from the wreckage by firefighters using extrication tools, and was brought to the roadway at about 9:30 a.m., Sadecki said.
Oscar Ortega was brought up about 10 minutes later.
Both were taken by ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
Firefighters were assisted by personnel from the Sheriff’s Department, Los Padres National Forest, Search & Rescue, AMR and CHP, Sadecki said.
Traffic in the area was reported to be congested, but the roadway remained open in both directions, he said.