Highway crash: Ten people were injured Tuesday in a four-vehicle pileup that started when a drunk driver crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into an oncoming pickup truck on Highway 246 between Lompoc and Buellton.
• An 18-year-old unlicensed driver was intoxicated when he drove home from an Indian casino.
• The teen veered in to oncoming traffic on Highway 246 and crashed into a pickup truck. Another vehicle hit the teen’s car and also struck a pedestrian who was directing traffic.
• Ten people were treated at the scene and then hospitalized with injuries.
• The teen will be charged with felony DUI, failure to maintain lane position, and driving without a license.
California Highway Patrol Officer John Ortega said 18-year-old Gerardo Torres Jr. of Lompoc was driving a Honda Civic westbound on Highway 246 when he crossed over into the eastbound lane near Tularosa Road.
The Honda crashed into an oncoming Toyota Tacoma pickup truck driven by 37-year-old Romualdo Jacinto of Lompoc. The impact caused the pickup truck to flip over and land on its roof. Jacinto suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Cottage Hospital. Two of his four passengers also were injured.
The Honda was knocked back into the westbound lanes, where it came to rest. Moments later, an approaching Lincoln Town Car crashed into the Honda. Torres, who was coming from the Chumash Casino Resort and was intoxicated, sustained a broken femur, Ortega said.
The Lincoln also struck 60-year-old Buellton resident Thomas Meade, who was directing traffic and giving assistance to victims. Meade suffered major injuries and was hospitalized at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. He was expected to survive.
Ortega said 18-year-old Julio Damacio and 22-year-old Juan Lopez of Lompoc suffered moderate injuries in the accident. Gerardo Lopez, 16, and Angel Mendoza, 23, also of Lompoc, suffered minor injuries.
All of the victims were treated at the scene and then taken to hospitals or further evaluation and treatment.
When Torres is released from the hospital, he will face charges of felony DUI, failure to maintain lane position and being an unlicensed driver.
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