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Triple fatal leads to mental health investigation

Triple fatal
Tracy Lehr / KEYT

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - When a wrong-way Camaro slammed into a Chevrolet Volt killing a Solvang mother, a toddler, and baby inside, the California Highway Patrol treated the area along Highway 154 as a crime scene.

Officers kept firefighters fighting a fire sparked by the three car crash away from the debris.

A father and teenage son escaped their burning SUV without injury, but John Roderick Dungan, 28, had to be rescued from his Camaro and airlifted to the hospital for surgery.

John Roderick Dungan, 28, of Santa Barbara.

Investigators are now trying to determine whether Dungan meant to harm himself and others. is reporting that Santa Barbara authorities were headed to do a welfare check at the Morada Lane home he shared his parents.

His parents chose not to comment on Tuesday afternoon, but neighbors recalled seeing officers at the home earlier in the year.

In February, the Santa Barbara Independent report said they confiscated guns, ammo and $40,000 in cash.

A poker website shows Dungan won that amount in a poker game.

The Independent report said Dungan voluntarily received psychiatric care and talked about the Isla Vista killer who shot and stabbed six people before taking his own life.

On Sunday, hundreds of people attended a private church vigil at the Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church.

Mentor mom Christine Elmerick said, " At the SYV Presbyterian Church, we have a mom's group called MOPS (Mother's of PreSchoolers). Our group is open to any mom and the mission is to encourage and equip moms of young children to realize their potential as mothers, women, and leaders, Vanessa was an incredibly kind, warm, friendly, and deeply compassionate person. She was a bright and radiant light in our midst. The tragic and sudden loss of such a beautiful mom and her children has deeply impacted our group and our whole community. Our Hearts are immensely broken for her husband Max Gleason, family and close friends. On Sunday evening in response to our shared and widespread grief, we opened the doors of the church to the community and offered a place to gather, cry, pray and to hold a candle, to hold onto light-in honor of Vanessa Bley, and her two precious babies Lucienne (2) and Desmond (4 months),"

Many of the mourners joined thousands of others by signing a petition called "Not one more on the 154."

MOPS member Lowri McGill said, "I created this petition because I met Vanessa when she was pregnant with her son. What happened to her on Highway 154 is unspeakable, somebody needs to do something about those conditions on that highway."

Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann was aware of the petition and said she has received calls.

"We are going to be working on safety issues, working on mental health issues, reviewing what could ever have been done. "

She said, "This is heart shattering, a beloved family, much admired, it is very heart breaking."

Members of a local Vintners association are planning to announce plans to help the widower in any way they can.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
154 petition
triple fatal

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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