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Santa Maria Woman Killed in Suspected DUI Crash

Instead of getting ready to ring in the coming New Year, family and friends of a young Santa Maria woman are preparing her funeral service after she was killed in a car crash Sunday night.

Its the second deadly crash involving young people on the Central Coast within the past week.

Those who knew 25 year old Ashley Kerr say she was just starting to blossom as a young woman and aspiring model eager to see where life was going to take her.

“She was always dolling herself up, doing something with her hair, doing something different”, says friend John Knudsen who watched Kerr grow up with his own kids,”
it was always ongoing as far as Ashley pursuing her dreams, she had it all going on.”

Kerr was killed Sunday night after the Chevy Blazer she was riding in veered out of control and and flew off the side of Highway 101 in Santa Maria Sunday night slamming into a tree and a sound wall before bursting into flames.

The CHP says two other young men Kerr was riding with, including the driver 22 year old Travis Dashek of Santa Maria and 21 year old Kurt Hixenbaugh of Santa Maria, survived the crash and were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

The CHP says witnesses saw the Chevy Blazer moving erratically across the southbound lanes of the highway right before the crash.

“It appears right now that Kerr did not have her seat belt on”, says CHP Officer Craig Carrier, “once the vehicle impacted the tree it caused severe head trauma to her.”

Ashley Kerr’s death comes just days after four people in northern San Luis Obispo County were killed on Christmas Eve when the van they were riding in slammed into the side of a big rig truck that turning off of Highway 101 near San Miguel.

The twin tragedies come at a time of celebration with family and friends.

“I’m sure there were big plans for some nice family get-togethers over the holidays and New Year’s that are plans to do different things now”, Knudsen says, “its sad because you see them growing up and then you know, they leave high school and do their thing, just like everyone else, you just hope that the path they take is going to be the right way and its just a sad situation.”

The CHP says drugs and alcohol were a factor in the crash Sunday night.

22 year old Travis Dashek is expected to be booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on DUI charges when he is released from the hospital.

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