Sunday, November 18, 2007

Car flips into Riviera yard, alcohol suspected


Authorities believe alcohol may have played a role in a vehicle accident that sent a late-model Cadillac STS flipping down a hillside into the backyard of a Riviera home yesterday.
“It just sounded like a really bad accident,” said a nearby resident who asked to remain anonymous. “Metal crunching and something rolling over and over. I’m amazed no one was hurt worse.”

Police said the driver, uninjured in the accident, told officers he had been driving at about 40 mph on Alameda Padre Serra when he lost control on a turn near Las Alturas Road at around 12:15 p.m.
“He lost traction on his front tires and his back tires locked up,” Santa Barbara Police Officer Mike Hollis said.
After skidding over the curb and through shrubbery and trees, the Cadillac tumbled down a 20-foot embankment, marked by a terracing of retaining walls, and landed on its wheels mere feet from the brick wall of the home.
Witnesses who heard the crash said they saw two men running from the scene, carrying something from the wrecked car, Santa Barbara City Fire Battalion Chief Chris Blair said.
“One guy had blood on his face,” an anonymous witness said.
However, Officer Hollis said only one passenger was involved in the accident and fled the scene with a laceration to his forehead, while the driver, who authorities did not identify, remained behind. Officers took him into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence after conducting several field sobriety tests.
Officer Hollis said he noticed the odor of alcohol on the driver, who appeared to be in his mid-20s.
“I smelled alcohol but I didn’t see any bottles,” Blair added.
Officers also removed several prescription bottles and what appeared to be a small, multi-colored pipe from the scene.
Blair said the residents of the home, a rental unit, appeared to be remodeling the interior and were not home at the time.
“[The car] didn’t hit the house,” Blair said. “The damage was done to the lower two rock walls and the car took out several plants.”
Firefighters took care to avoid as much damage as possible to any other plants as a tow truck winched the totaled Cadillac back up to the driveway.

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