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Coroner Releases Toxicology Results in Highway 154 Deaths

Two Women Killed December 21 near Rancho San Marcos Golf Course


Friday, January 11, 2013
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The two women hit and killed during a strange and tragic series of incidents on Highway 154 last month were under the influence of multiple drugs, a toxicology report shows. Though the Santa Barbara coroner’s findings were recently made public, Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Mark Williams stressed in a prepared statement: “Please keep in mind that the [information] is not the official cause of death, but rather just what we found in their systems.”

The women — 54-year-old Sara Ornelas of Santa Barbara and 49-year-old Barbara Romero of Lompoc — were driving to the Chumash Casino at around 11:45 p.m. on December 21 when they pulled over to relieve themselves on the side of the road near the Rancho San Marcos Golf Course. Once they stopped, however, a small dog jumped out of the car and ran into traffic. One of the women gave chase, but both she and the dog were killed by oncoming cars. The other woman attempted to help her friend and was also fatally struck. The two were declared dead at the scene.

According to the coroner’s report, Ornelas had methadone, codeine, and morphine in her system. Romero, it said, had amphetamine, methamphetamine, methadone, and morphine in hers. The report notes that the morphine in both cases could be a product of the the women’s bodies metabolizing heroin or codeine, or it could be pharmaceutical morphine.

Comments

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Don't you just love that we have a casino that draws folks at midnight? I love to gamble but I'm not a patron of the Chumash Casino. I don't know that it has generated extra crime but I also suspect that it has produced many hard luck stories and worse.

sbbulldog (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 3:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ouch.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 5:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of use policy.)

Carpreader (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 11:03 p.m.

I wonder why the dog fled...

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 11:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Since you removed my previous comment, how about this one.
At least they didn't hurt anybody other than themselves, and the dog.

Carpreader (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 12:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually Carp, if they had family, they broke their hearts. Under the influence and on their way to the Casino; the situation speaks for itself.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 4:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Uh, Carp, ever wonder how the drivers felt when they hit another human being on the road?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 7:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

3 or 4 drugs in your system at the same time is ALOT.
I think what Carp means is that these women could have hurt, meaning they could have killed your loved ones in a head on collision just up the road.
Yes, their death is sad. I wonder how many times they drove with drugs in their system. More than once one would think.

khiggler (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 8:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Its a tragedy that will haunt everyone involved for a long while.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 8:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of use policy.)

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 8:30 p.m.

I agree with sbbulldog in that the casino draws many strange & very desperate people especially late at night. Living here in the SY Valley, I see hundreds of cars each time I return from a late evening in SB, all pulling into the casino.

I can understand Las Vegas where most people make it a true vacation/entertainment destination. Here though, it's an addiction & attraction for those who need the immediate gratification & rush of what gambling & drugs provide.

Drugs? Yes, many also find the Chumash Casino to be the Alice's Restaurant of the 2000's! Don't believe me? Read the local papers', especially the Valley News, Police Blotter section each Thursday!

Barron (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2013 at 9:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How about asking the Indians to close their Casino from 11pm to 7am? Would that greatly impact their profits enough to justify the probable affect on safety?

Draxor (anonymous profile)
January 14, 2013 at 6:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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