Jerald Brandon Holman
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY — State Route 166 crosses the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo county lines multiple times as it connects U.S. 101 with California’s Central Valley, winding its serpentine, undivided two-lane course from the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes eastward to the I-5 in Kern County.
On the best of days and under ideal conditions, it’s a road requiring astute driver attention and optimal senses. Driving drunk on that road is simply an exercise in suicide…or homicide, as proven by the tragic events taking place there on Labor Day, September 5th.
It was on that afternoon when Jerald Brandon Holman, a 36-year-old Bakersfield resident, was behind the wheel of a 2008 Toyota Camry, driving at what an unidentified CHP spokesman characterized to the media as “a high rate of speed.”
His passengers included 7-year-old Fabious Foreman, 4-year-old Zaniah Coleman, and the children’s mother, Todeisha Lewis. Just east of Santa Maria, Holman lost control of the vehicle “and swerved into the eastbound lanes, where it was struck broadside by an SUV.
First responders to the scene found six people injured and the two aforementioned children who were “declared dead at the scene,” according to Santa Barbara County Fire Department Captain Dave Zaniboni, who added that “two of the victims were ejected from the vehicles and four had to be extricated.” Victims were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and to Santa Maria’s Marian Regional Medical Center.
Holman, who has prior DUI convictions and at the time of the accident was sought on an arrest warrant for failure to complete DUI education classes, was determined to have been driving with a blood alcohol level in excess of the legal limit.
Upon release from Cottage Hospital, he was taken into custody by Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Deputies and transported to San Luis Obispo County Jail where he was charged with two counts of child endangerment, being an unlicensed driver, second degree murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing injury, and driving with a blood alcohol level above .08 percent causing injury. According to San Luis Obispo County Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham, if convicted, Holman “faces life in prison.”
Photos: courtesy San Luis Obispo County Jail Booking, www.gofundme.com