A Santa Maria man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after crashing his vehicle and injuring his juvenile passenger shortly after 6 a.m. Saturday near the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A 2004 Jeep Liberty, driven by 42-year-old Rudy Lopez, was traveling westbound on Highway 246 east of Casino Drive when it swerved to the right and collided with a traffic light pole, according to CHP Officer Keith Rogers.
The wreck critically injured Lopez, who was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The juvenile passenger, who is also from Santa Maria but was not identified because of his age, sustained moderate injuries, according to Rogers.
The driver and passenger both were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Daniel Bertucelli.
Responding units included two engines and a battalion chief from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the California Highway Patrol and an American Medical Response ambulance.
The collision, which caused major damage to the Jeep, remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.
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