2 People Killed, 4 Injured in Suspected DUI Crash on Highway 154 Near Los Olivos

A vehicle crash killed two Santa Maria residents and injured four others early Sunday on Highway 154 near Los Olivos. (David Neels / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

Two Santa Maria residents were killed and four others were injured early Sunday in a multi-vehicle crash on Highway 154 near Los Olivos.

At approximately 2 a.m., personnel from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department,AMR and the California Highway Patrol were dispatched to Highway 154 east of Zaca Station Road, Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said.

Three vehicles were involved in the collision near the “S curve” on Highway 154, where firefighters had to extricate victims from more than one vehicle, Eliason said, adding the effort took 10 to 15 minutes.

The accident occurred when a Nissan SUV, driven by Rigoberto Gracida Paucene, 30, was eastbound on Highway 154 and drifted into the westbound lane, where it collided with a Honda Accord driven by Hamilton Dias Bonilla, 35, according to the CHP.

The impact caused the Nisson to overturn, and it was struck from behind by a Dodge minivan driven by Aurelio Salvador Zaragoza, 43, the CHP said.

Bonilla and a passenger in the Dodge — Antonia Bautista Santiago, 50 — were declared dead at the scene, the CHP said.

Zaragoza suffered major injuries and Antonio Rafael, 32, a passenger in the Honda, had moderate injuries, the CHP.

Ricio Arroyo Cortes, also a passenger in the Honda, sustained minor injuries.

All three were transported to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, the CHP said.

Paucene was treated for minor injuries and then was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, the CHP said.

Officers from the CHP’s Buellton Area office were investigating the cause of the crash.

The crash occurred on the segment of Highway 154 unaffected by the Thomas Fire closures.

The CHP has closed the section of Highway 154 between Cathedral Oaks/Highway 192 in Santa Barbara and Highway 246 in the Santa Ynez Valley to give easier access to fire equipment at the Lake Cachuma base camp.

— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com