Photo: accident scene
July 15, 2020 – Santa Barbara County, Ca.
California State Route Highway 135, running through the community of Orcutt, and acting as a
bypass to U.S. Highway 101, is a lightly-traveled roadway where nighttime visibility and the
high speed of most vehicles can be a challenge to the most sober of drivers. For the inebriated
driver, it can be a deadly thoroughfare.
The hazards of travel on Hwy 135 were demonstrated once again on the night of July 14 th .
According to California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Chapman, CHP units responded to
the scene of a collision just after 9:45 p.m. “just north of the Highway 135 and Highway 1
intersection.” Officers discovered two vehicles had “sustained major damage” as the result of a
One of the vehicles, a 2010 Toyota Highlander, was driven by 33-year-old Nicholas Ainza who
sustained minor injuries in the crash. The other vehicle, a 2010 Chevrolet Aveo, was driven by
26-year-old Santa Maria resident Fidel Ortiz-Pausano, and was heading “northbound in the
southbound left-hand lane” when he smashed into Ainza’s Highlander.
Both drivers were transported by ambulance to Marian Regional Medical Center for treatment
of their injuries. It was then determined that Ortiz-Pausano was under the influence at the time of
the accident, whereupon he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol
Photo: Courtesy California High Patrol