A woman and two children died Friday afternoon in a head-on collision involving three vehicles on Highway 154 that also ignited a 2-acre wildfire near the Cold Spring Bridge, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The names and ages of the deceased, as well as the names of two of the others involved in the crash, had not been released as of Saturday afternoon.
According to the CHP report, 28-year-old John Roderick Dungan from Santa Barbara was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro westbound on Highway 154 at an unknown speed approaching the Cold Spring Bridge about 4:45 p.m. when his car crossed the center line into oncoming traffic.
The Camaro smashed head-on into a 2013 Chevrolet Volt being driven by a woman and carrying two small children in the backseat, according to the report by investigating CHP Officer John Darker.
While the Camaro slid forward until coming to a stop on the bridge in the eastbound lane of the highway, a GMC Yukon following the Volt swerved right to avoid the crash but struck the Volt, sending both vehicles onto the south shoulder of the highway, Darker’s report said.
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Both the Volt and Yukon burst into flames, starting a wildfire that began burning up the side of the mountain.
The woman and two children in the Volt were pronounced dead at the scene, while Dungan suffered major injuries.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said Dungan had to be extricated from the wreckage, then was driven by an AMR ambulance to a CalSTAR helicopter that had landed west of the bridge and was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.
Darker said the 55-year-old driver of the Yukon and his 13-year-old passenger, both of Los Gatos, were not injured in the crash.
Eliason said a crew from Los Padres National Forest, assisted by County Fire, attacked the flames and extinguished the blaze at 2 acres.
Highway 154 was closed for more than an hour at the Highway 246 roundabout and at a point east of the Cold Spring Bridge, with only drivers who lived on the other side of the crash site being allowed through.
Darker said the collision is still under investigation.
This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, associate editor for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.