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Two Saturday Night Crashes Have Residents Concerned

Two car crashes less than ten minutes apart rocked Santa Barbara on Saturday night. One involved an elderly driver and the other involved a 17-year-old driver who took her family’s car and lead the police on a high-speed chase before finally flipping the vehicle into a fence on The Mesa.

Around 9:40pm, a 17-year-old driver was hospitalized after she crashed her car into a fence adjacent to a house on The Mesa. “I think the woman crashed because she was trying to avoid our car. She was driving so fast that she just crashed right into the trees,” said Shart Hamagan, who was visiting Santa Barbara from Los Angeles.

Police say the juvenile driver had taken a family member’s car. She was then involved in several hit and run accidents on Las Positas before leading police on a brief high speed pursuit. Debbie Lemke, who owns the house that the car nearly crashed into, said “If our chimney hadn’t been there the car would have gone into our house.”

The driver was hospitalized but amazingly no one else was hurt. Police have not released her name and charges are still pending. Toxicology reports on the driver are also pending.

Santa Barbara Police Sargent Tom Rauch said “The last witness we talked to said the driver was driving well over 100mph.”

Just a few miles away, and just about 10 minutes later, a 91-year-old driver drove his car through the front entrance of the Ralphs Supermarket on De La Vina. Police attributed the accident to operator error. Gene Senneggoodo witnessed the crash, said “Ya I heard a kablam, a boom, and a crash bam boom. I knew it was a car. It was scary.”

The aftermath of The Mesa accident had residents concerned about safety.

Ken Westmacott, a Mesa resident who lives near the crash site, said “Driving that fast really doesn’t get you anywhere, it only puts you and others in danger.”


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