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Murder charges filed in Hwy 154 crash that killed Solvang mother, two children

Murder charges filed in Hwy 154 crash that killed Solvang mother, two children


Murder charges have been filed against a Santa Barbara man accused of causing a three-vehicle crash that killed a Solvang woman and her two young children on Highway 154 in October.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Wednesday that a felony complaint was filed against John Roderick Dungan, 28, charging him with three counts of murder.

The charges were filed in connection with the Oct. 25 collision just east of the Cold Spring Bridge that killed Rebecca Vanessa Goss Bley, 34, and her two children, 2-year-old Lucienne Bley Gleason and 4-month-old Desmond Bley Gleason.

Dungan is scheduled to appear for arraignment on the charges Friday before Judge Clifford Anderson in Department 8 of the Figueroa Division of Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Barbara.

The complaint filed Wednesday states Dungan murdered the three “with malice aforethought” and includes two special allegations.

One is that the crime was committed after he had been released from custody, either on bail or his own recognizance, in another case.

The other is that the crime is a serious or violent felony or one that requires registering as a sex offender, making him ineligible to serve any sentence in a county jail instead of a state prison.

Dungan is being held in Santa Barbara County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

According to the California Highway Patrol's initial report, Dungan was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro westbound on Highway 154 at an unknown speed approaching the Cold Spring Bridge about 4:45 p.m. Oct. 25 when his car crossed the center line into oncoming traffic.

The Camaro smashed head-on into a 2013 Chevrolet Volt being driven by Rebecca Bley and carrying her two small children in the backseat, according to the report.

While the Camaro slid forward until coming to a stop on the bridge in the eastbound lane of the highway, a GMC Yukon following Bley swerved right to avoid the crash but struck the Volt, sending both vehicles onto the south shoulder of the highway, the report said.

Both the Volt and Yukon burst into flames, starting a wildfire.

Bley and her children were pronounced dead at the scene.

Dungan suffered major injuries and was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

A 55-year-old man driving the Yukon and his 13-year-old passenger, both of Los Gatos, were uninjured in the crash.

The wildfire burned about 8 acres before being extinguished, and Highway 154 was closed to through traffic for more than an hour as the CHP investigated the crash and the wreckage was cleared away.


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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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