Man dies in fatal collision, car fire early Saturday
A 20-year-old Santa Maria man died early Saturday after his vehicle collided with a tree and caught fire in the Miller Street and Betteravia Road area, Santa Maria police say.
At approximately 1:00 a.m., a vehicle traveling southbound on Miller Street struck the sidewalk several times before leaving the roadway for an unknown reason and hitting a city lamppost and a large tree.
The vehicle caught fire after coming to a stop on Miller’s west sidewalk near Betteravia Road, police said. According to Sgt. Santa Maria Fire Department personnel Michael McGehee attempted to extricate the individual from the car, but died at the scene.
The individual, a 20-year-old Hispanic man, is not publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, McGehee said Monday morning.
“Officers arrived quickly, but the vehicle was completely engulfed and it was basically too late. It was pretty bad,” McGehee said.
Part of Miller Street was barricaded until 7 a.m. as firefighters put out the fire and opened the car to retrieve the body, McGehee said. Also during the closure, Recreation and Parks staff removed the tree from the roadway.
No other vehicles or individuals appear to be involved in the collision, according to the department.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Maria Police Department Traffic Office at 805-928-3781, ext. 2277.
Woman killed in wrong-way collision on February 1 identified by police
The Santa Maria Police Department released the name of the woman killed in a collision with a contraflow vehicle in the Beth Court and Alvin Avenue area on February 1.
Deborah Sandoval, 30, of Santa Maria, collided head-on with a truck around 7 p.m. after turning and driving the wrong way on the road, police said. Sandoval was taken to an area hospital for treatment of a serious head injury and died the following day.
The department’s traffic office continues to investigate the crash.
Sandoval was “sassy, fond of music and her food”, according to her obituary, and was described as a loving mother to her two sons and a loving daughter, aunt, granddaughter and sister.
She is survived by her two sons, one brother, four sisters and numerous nieces and nephews. She was born in Santa Maria to Diana and Fidel Sandoval.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Sandoval’s family with funeral expenses, with additional funds to be directed to a college fund for his son.
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
Five new COVID deaths reported in the county on Monday
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported five additional deaths from COVID-19 along with 353 new cases of illness between Saturday and Monday.
The five additional deaths were all among residents over the age of 70, and one occurred in connection with a congregate care site, according to county public health data.
Two of the deceased resided in Santa Maria and the others resided in Santa Barbara, Lompoc and Orcutt.
County health officials have now confirmed 636 total deaths from COVID-19. Thirty-five deaths have been reported in the first two weeks of February alone.
As of Monday, 77 county residents were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 13 in the intensive care unit. Hospitalizations are down nearly 50% since the last peak in late January, according to county data.
City receives $27,000 grant from California Coastal Commission
The Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department received $27,000 from the California Coastal Commission’s 2022 Whale Tail Competitive Grant Program.
With this money, the department will launch a new program called Coastal Guardians of Santa Maria. Designed to provide experiential learning opportunities for all ages, it will include family field trips, community service opportunities, STEAM projects and more.
Attendees will learn how to preserve and protect California’s coastline through enjoyable activities and adventures, according to a city spokesperson.
Part of the funding will be used to create a club on the campus of Fesler Junior High School, where students will meet during lunch or after school.
The California Coastal Commission is committed to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations, according to its website.
Funding for the commission comes from the state’s Whale Tail license plate program, which began in 1998. Grants are awarded with an emphasis on coastal and ocean education and stewardship. Projects can take place anywhere in the state.
Questions can be directed to the Recreation and Parks Department at 805-925-0951, ext. 2260.