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CHP says deadly Highway 154 crash was likely intentional

triple fatal crash highway 154 dungan
A mother and her two children were killed in a multi-vehicle crash on Highway 154.

GOLETA, Calif. - California Highway Patrol released new details at a press conference Thursday after last month’s fiery crash on Highway 154 killed a Solvang mother and her two children. 

Officers say evidence suggests that John Roderick Dungan, 28, intentionally drove into oncoming traffic near Cold Spring Bridge on Oct. 25, causing the crash that killed Rebecca Vanessa Goss Bley, 34, and her children, Lucienne Bley Gleason and Desmond Bley Gleason.

“Based on the evidence we have gathered thus far, we believe that Mr. Dungan intentionally drove his vehicle into the opposing lane of traffic, directly at the vehicle carrying Vanessa and her children,” said CHP Captain Cindy Pontes. 

John Roderick Dungan, 28, of Santa Barbara.

Dungan survived the crash and was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. He is now in Santa Barbara County Jail, facing three counts of murder with no bail. 

The Santa Barbara Independent reported that he had previous run-ins with law enforcement, but CHP says this crash investigation will only focus on the day of the crash.

“Yes, we’re aware of previous cases but we’re not using that in this case,” Pontes said.

CHP would not reveal specifics about the investigation, but they say neither Dungan nor his relatives have spoken to investigators. 

Meanwhile, friends and family are mourning the loss of Bley and her two children. 

“We know that our community is still hurting and they will be for a very long time,” Pontes said. “You are all in our thoughts and prayers during this very tough time.”

Officers spoke to Vanessa’s husband and other family members on Thursday, as they all seek justice and answers.

“We offered our absolute condolences and answered all the questions that we could to maintain the integrity of the case,” Pontes said. “And just sat in their grief. It was very difficult.”

Dungan is due in court for an arraignment hearing on Friday.

CHP says if you have information regarding this investigation, they urge you to call them at 805-967-1234.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts
deadly crash
highway 154
Santa Barbara

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Ryan Fish

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