120417 Cuyama head-on

Three people, including 19-year-old Alejandro M. Santiago, of Santa Maria, were pronounced dead Sunday following a head-on collision on Highway 166 near New Cuyama.

Courtesy of Santa Barbara County Fire

Three people, including a 19-year-old Santa Maria man, died in a head-on collision Sunday afternoon on Highway 166 east of Bell Drive, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Occurring at 4:15 p.m., the crash, which involved a 2002 Ford Explorer and 2011 Ford Escape, took place roughly 1 mile west of New Cuyama just east of Bell Drive.

The Escape, driven by a 19-year-old from Santa Maria, was traveling westbound on Highway 166 when he veered to the left and crossed over the double-yellow lines into the path of the eastbound-traveling Explorer, driven by a 54-year-old female from Bakersfield. Also in that vehicle was a 61-year-old male passenger from Citrus Heights. 

All three suffered major blunt-force trauma and were declared dead at the scene, according to the Highway Patrol. It is unknown if alcohol or drug use were a factor in the crash. 

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The identity of all three victims is currently withheld, pending notification of their next of kin.

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga

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