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With holidays around the corner CHP officers hope fatal accidents serve as reminder to designate a driver

CHP urges people to drive safe following fatal accidents

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, -Neighbors along Cathedral Oaks Road said they have seen too many crashes and close calls due to dangerous driving.

The latest crash killed Silvia Velasco, 45, from Lompoc and Gilberto Arteaga-Gutierrez, 40, from Santa Barbara.

They were in a 2002 Mustang on Cathedral Oaks near Camino Cascada .

It's an unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County near Goleta.

Lisa Sideris heard the crash and saw the aftermath around 7:30 Tuesday night.

On Wednesday morning, she placed flowers at a growing memorial across the street from her home.

The California Highway Patrol arrested a 31 and recovered a small dog from the 2016 Toyota 4-Runner he was driving.

Investigators said he was intoxicated and speeding when he drove the car into the rear of the Mustang that slammed into 2 parked cars. The morning after the fatal crash a damaged grey pickup was still on the street where a fire hydrant had been hit and a crossing sign had been replaced.

CHP information officer Jonathon Gutierrez said the driver was treated for minor injuries before his arrest.

His bail was set at $2 million.

If money will make people designate a driver Gutierrez wants people to know the average DUI case will set drivers back $14,000. That's enough to buy countless Uber, Lift or taxi rides.

"Once again we lost two people in our community, and basically drinking and driving is an issue here. We need people to have a designated driver, hire a ride share company or stay they can stay where they are at. Please do that."

They are still trying to determine what caused this fiery crash on the Garden Street onramp October 20, that killed the driver, Oscar Moreno, 29 and Jessica Honor, 34, both of Santa Barbara. They were in a 1997 Mercedes they had just come off the freeway.

Neighbors of the most recent crash said the 40 mile an hours speed limit is often ignored in the area they call Noleta

They believe the driver in custody was going twice that.

Lisa Sideris said, "It's turning into a little bit of shrine over there and I hope that at least it will make people think about this when they're driving by."

An officers sat in a patrol car next to a flashing sign showing the speeds of cars driving by on Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators are asking witnesses of the crash to contact the CHP.

CHP enforcement will increase during the holidays.

Gutierrez said people can report drivers who appear to be under the influence by calling the CHP with a good description of the location.

Although the drivers in these fatal crashed were older the CHP recommends the free Start Smart classes for young drivers.

They program includes videos that show what happens during crashes caused by driving under the influence or by distracted driving.

For more information visit www.chp.ca.gov.

We will have more on the fatal crashes and the effort to prevent more of them tonight on the news.

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Tracy Lehr

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

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