Friday, October 31, 2008

CHP releases details on Highway 101 crash


Authorities are releasing additional details about a collision on Highway 101 on Wednesday morning that sent a vehicle plunging 100 feet off a cliff and landing upside down.

California Highway Patrol officials said a 23-year-old Ventura man in a Chevy van rear-ended a Toyota Highlander in the southbound fast lane at approximately 7:30 a.m., causing its driver to lose control and veer off the cliff north of the Evans Avenue offramp.
The crumpled vehicle ended up on its roof near the railroad tracks, CHP officials said. Its occupants, 58-year-old Etelina Figueroa, of Carpinteria, and an 8-year-old girl survived the crash with bruises and complaints of pain, CHP Officer Dan Barba said.
“Both were wearing seatbelts, which undoubtedly saved their lives,” he said in a news release.
An off-duty sheriff’s deputy who arrived on scene shortly after the incident rappelled down the cliff using his rope kit and helped extricate the victims from the wreckage, fire officials said.
Both victims were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment and Figueroa was admitted for observation.
The driver of the Chevy van, Patrick Joerger, lost control of his vehicle after the initial collision and hit a truck towing a woodchipper in the slow lane, Barba said. Both vehicles slowed to a stop on the right shoulder, he added.
Joerger suffered minor injuries, authorities said, and the driver of the truck, a 47-year-old Ventura man, was taken to the hospital, treated and released. Alcohol or drugs are not being considered a factor in the incident.

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