Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pedestrian killed by suspected drunk driver

BY ERIC LINDBERG
DAILY SOUND STAFF WRITER

A 66-year-old woman described by family as a passionate and caring volunteer died after being hit by a suspected drunk driver while jogging with a group of people along Las Positas Road on Saturday morning.

Police officials said Carolyn Ruddell Samuels of Santa Barbara was hit by a van at 7:35 a.m. while running in the southbound bike lane approximately 100 yards south of Veronica Springs Road.
The driver, identified as Gregory Albert Doan, 56, exhibited signs of being under the influence of both alcohol and drugs at the scene, Sgt. Noel Rivas of the Santa Barbara Police Department said.
“He’s had three prior DUIs,” Sgt. Rivas added.
Officers arrested and booked Doan for murder based on his driving history, authorities said. He was also booked on suspicion of felony DUI causing injuries and driving under the influence of narcotics, in addition to a lesser-known vehicle code violation for driving while addicted to a drug.
Sgt. Rivas said traffic collision experts responded to the scene and are still piecing together the circumstances of the collision. He said Doan will likely appear in court today or tomorrow, but did not know if charges had officially been filed yet.
Several other joggers witnessed the incident, Sgt. Rivas said. Samuels was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries several hours later.
Samuels was running with a group of approximately 35 “Team In Training” members — a group involved with raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Family members described her as a compassionate, giving and positive woman who loved to travel and volunteered for numerous nonprofit agencies.
“Our mom was an amazing woman, well-loved and cared for by her many friends and family members in California and beyond,” according to a statement from her family. “She was an extraordinary mother to her three kids and three granddaughters.”
Samuels volunteered for the Children’s Health Council in Menlo Park and served as a docent at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. She was set to begin a new position with Americorps in Santa Barbara this fall.
In 1993, she joined Team in Training and got hooked on running, participating in more than 12 marathons to raise money to fund blood cancer research.
“On Saturday, she was doing what she loved: running with her team preparing for the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco next month,” according to the statement. “Her family appreciates all the care and support we’ve received from her friends in Santa Barbara and the Bay Area.”
A memorial service is being planned for this Saturday at All Saints-by-the-Sea Church.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This accident is very unfortunate. Las Positas Road is virtually a freeway with a speed limit of 55mph. I live nearby and rarely walk or ride my bike on this road due to the danger it poses. Please let this accident speed up the process of Cal Trans transferring ownership to the City of Santa Barbara so the City can transform this road to a safe city street as it did on Shoreline near Leadbetter Beach. Also, please do not allow runs & bike races be held on this road until the road has been made safe.

Lara Bancroft said...

This is a very tragic event indeed. My heart goes out to the Samuels family. Please don't resort to blaming the government or the road being unsafe. Las Positas is an easy and safe road to drive with clear visibility and good asphalt with clear pavement markings. This death resulted solely as a result of Mr. Doan's extreme irresponsibility. He was drunk! If you remember the doctor in Montecito that got run over by Heather Hulsey last year, that was a local road with a low speed limit. Drunk Driving is the problem; period. God only knows if she would have survived if she would have run on the correct side of the street; but he was the drunk one and the only one to blame.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment above and would add another thought. I am an avid distance runner who has lived in Santa Barbara and trained on the local roads for almost 25 years. While I have run on Las Positas, I long ago took it off my training route list of local runs due to the number of cars and the speed of the traffic. At some points on Las Positas, the bike lane is quite narrow and it is impossible to run there without coming very close to the cars. It is unfortunate in the extreme that Team in Training would schedule a Saturday morning run of 35 people for that road. There are so many other safer running routes and roads in SB, particularly for a very large group of runners, that the group organizers should choose elsewhere to train. My thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family and friends.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible accident! I ride my bike on this road 2-3 times a week. I agree the ultimate cause was a drunk driver but I also agree that the road could be made much safer by reducing the speed limit significantly. My heart goes out to her family it is a very sad loss for the santa barbara community.