A 34-year-old Santa Ynez man was pulled from a smoking vehicle after crashing near the intersection of US Highway 246/Mission Drive and Refugio road near Santa Ynez Monday evening.
The crash occurred at around 9:45 p.m.
Witnesses at the scene said the driver was traveling in a Buick Riviera at a high rate of speed when he lost control, rolled multiple times and came to rest on its top in a ditch in front of Santa Ynez Union High School.
The vehicle caught on fire and onlookers attempted to pull the man out of the vehicle but couldn’t reach him due to the flames. The driver of a tow truck that was nearby saw the crash and attempted to put out the flames with an extinguisher.
When emergency crews arrived the vehicle was billowing smoke. Crews had to cut some of the nearby bushes before they could gain access to the vehicle to extricate the man.
Witnesses said the man did not appear to be conscious when he was removed from the vehicle. According to Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni, the man was in his mid-20’s and suffered major injuries. He was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital by ambulance.
The driver was the only occupant of the vehicle.
Highway 246/Mission Drive was blocked to all westbound traffic while crews cleaned up the scene.
According to the California Highway Patrol log, traffic from the nearby Chumash Casino was re-routed and casino staff were going to look at security footage to aid in the investigation.
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.
The crash happened at the same intersection where a 15-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed in 2015.