19-year-old SBCC student dies in a car crash in Santa Ynez Valley area

Yarrow Hogan, News Editor

City College student Roberto Garcia, Jr., 19, was killed and three other passengers were injured in a vehicle accident late Monday night in Buellton. 

Passengers Georgia Jensen,18, Emely Suarez, 18, and Viviana Figueroa,19, all suffered moderate-major injuries. Two were taken to Marian Regional Medical Center, Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesperson Scott Safechuck said.

On Monday, Sept. 12 around 10:15 p.m, Garcia was driving at an undetermined speed around a bend heading northbound on Ballard Canyon Road north of Roble Blanco Road, according to a collision report by the California Highway Patrol.

 The 2005 BMW M3 veered off the road, hit a fence and a tree, then flipped upside down onto its roof about 20 feet below.

“This crash occurred as Mr. Garcia Jr. failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway,” the report states. 

After the crash, everyone remained trapped in the vehicle until extrication.

Garcia was extracted from the driver’s side and transported to Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital, where he was subsequently pronounced dead, CHP Public Information Officer Michael Griffith said. 

At this time, the accident is still under investigation.

The California Highway Patrol reported that drugs or alcohol did not appear to be a contributing factor in the crash.

As of Sept. 16, the Santa Barbara County Coroner was not able to confirm Garcia’s exact cause of death.

City College is providing resources for those in need of support. The Hospice of Santa Barbara and VNA Health are offering free grief counseling. Students can utilize the Student Health Services and employees can contact the Employee Assistance Program.