SANTA BARBARA COUNTY — The CHP station is Buellton must be a busy place, considering the enormous amount of high-speed vehicular travel constantly flowing through a jurisdiction that includes U.S. 101, one of California’s major north-south arteries.
Deputies covering that widespread area from Buellton to the northernmost frontier of Santa Barbara County have experience with a wide variety of Vehicle Code violations, but they may have been taken somewhat aback by the circumstances encountered on the afternoon of February 10th.
It was at approximately 3 p.m. when a 911 Emergency call dispatched officers to the scene of a hit-and-run accident in the proximity of Rancho Dos Pueblos, just north of the City of Buellton. According to CHP spokesman Officer John Ortega, as CHP units rolled toward the accident scene, officers observed a pickup truck fitting the description of a vehicle involved in the accident heading northbound on U.S. 101.
The officers immediately gave pursuit and “attempted to conduct an enforcement stop on the vehicle,” but the driver of the pickup apparently ignored the flashing red lights in the rear view mirror and proceeded on its course of travel at freeway speeds.
CHP units continued the pursuit at speeds of 65 mph for no less than 50 miles. As the evading vehicle approached the community of Los Alamos, it came to a halt on the freeway shoulder, whereupon the driver, Helen Grant, a 66-year-old resident of Arroyo Grande, was taken into custody without further incident.
Ortega noted in his report to the media that the reason for Grant’s involvement in the initial accident, her decision to leave the scene, and her subsequent flight from law enforcement remain under investigation. It is not known at this time if drugs or alcohol were involved.