Driver Hits Nun and Runs

April 28 – Santa Barbara

Salvador Torres Gomez was later arrested for the hit and run that severely injured the nun

Maria August, a 41 year-old Tibetan Buddhist nun, was struck in a pedestrian crosswalk on April 17th while traversing Santa Barbara’s busy State Street when a car failed to yield or take note of other vehicles who had stopped for her in other traffic lanes.  The driver of that car, according to Santa Barbara Police Department Public Information Officer Riley Harwood, “then drove through a nearby Shell gas station and fled northbound without stopping or rendering aid”.

Ms. August was transported to Cottage Hospital by ambulance and admitted for her injuries while police appealed to the public for any information leading to the suspected driver.  Investigation following the accident revealed a video image of the vehicle and driver being sought, which was taken as a black pickup truck entered the Shell station.

Video Surveillance helped identify the truck involved

Ongoing investigation by SBPD Sergeant Jill Beecher, during which she ran several variations of the partial license plate of the suspected vehicle led to the identification of Salvador Torres Gomez, 70, of Santa Barbara.  “He was contacted and questioned,” Harwood reported to the media, “and initially denied any involvement.”  Pursuant to further questioning by Traffic Investigators and SBPD Detectives,  Gomez ultimately confessed, and was further identified by witnesses to the hit and run scene.  “Physical evidence was also observed on the vehicle linking it to this crime,” Harwood later said.

Gomez was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on Felony Hit and Run, failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, passing a vehicle stopped for pedestrians in a crosswalk, and injuring a pedestrian after failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.  He is currently held on $50,000 bond while Ms. August remains hospitalized with a broken neck and leg.

A view of the crosswalk and Shell station where the hit and run took place

According to Officer Mark Hunt of the SBPD Traffic Division, there are “about 400 pedestrian hit-and-run” episodes per year in the city.

Read more:

KCOY: Santa Barbara Police Arrest Hit and Run Suspect

Noozhawk: Police arrest 70-Year-Old Man in Hit-and-Run of Pedestrian

Santa Barbara Independent: Police Arrest Hit-and-Run Suspect

Driver Hits Nun and Runs was last modified: January 11th, 2019 by admin
Categories: Santa Barbara

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