SANTA BARBARA COUNTY — The lives of television soap opera characters are often filled with high drama and unexpected life crises, but rarely do those portraying those roles suffer through the same life-changing twists and turns.
But as dawn broke on May 18th above State Highway 154, the serpentine mountain road connecting the City of Santa Barbara with the Santa Ynez Valley, the life of The Young and the Restless actress Jensen Buchanan, a 53-year-old Los Angeles resident, plunged into the realm of genuine soap opera.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, it was just 6:20 AM on that morning when Buchanan’s Mercedes S550 crossed the highway’s “double yellow line directly into the path” of an oncoming mid-size Ford driven by 56-year-old Camarillo resident Bradley Asolas.
The ensuing collision was of such impact that responding firefighters extricated Asolas from the wreck with “critical injuries.” For her part, Buchanan sustained minor injuries and was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where she was then arrested “on suspicion of driving under the influence.”
Subsequent medical examination determined that at the time of the accident, Buchanan was driving with a blood alcohol level of .34 percent, well above the legislated allowable limit.
With that evidence in hand, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced on June 14th the imposition of felony charges of DUI causing great bodily injury and felony driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or greater, setting Buchanan’s bail at $100,000.
Photos: Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County Jail Booking