Feb. 15–Criminal charges will not be filed against the driver of a firefighting vehicle that overturned in a September crash and killed Ventura County fire engineer Ryan Osler, Santa Barbara County prosecutors said Tuesday.
Osler, an 18-year veteran of the Ventura County Fire Department, and a fellow county firefighter were on their way to help fight a wildfire near Vandenberg Air Force Base when the crash occurred on Sept. 21, 2016, according to a statement issued by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.
Osler, 38, was a passenger in the water tender. Prosecutors’ statement identified the driver as Adam Price. The vehicle was traveling east on Highway 246 at about 6:20 a.m. when it struck the curb of a roundabout at Purisima Road, then overturned and rolled.
Osler was pronounced dead at the scene.
“After reviewing the investigation completed by the California Highway Patrol and their multidisciplinary accident investigation team, no evidence was found of criminal negligence sufficient to support any charges against Mr. Price,” prosecutors said in a statement.
Price was able to pull himself from the overturned vehicle and was taken to Lompoc Valley Medical Center, from which he was released later that day.
Patrol officials have revealed little about the crash investigation. They previously said in an initial report that the crash occurred in dark and foggy conditions. Tuesday’s statement also mentions those conditions but provides no other information about the incident.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley said the crash highlights the dangers first responders face every day.
“Their risk begins each time they report for duty and continues until they are safely home with their loved ones,” Dudley said. “I extend my deepest sympathy to Ryan Osler’s family and loves ones, along with my heart-felt condolences to Adam Price, his loved ones, and all the women and men of the Ventura County Fire Department.”
The day after the crash, residents of the area outside of Santa Barbara told The Star that the roundabout is difficult for drivers to maneuver and see in fog. When Caltrans proposed the roundabout at La Purisima Road in 2009 to slow traffic and eliminate broadside collisions, many residents spoke against the idea, expressing those same safety concerns.
Jim Shivers, a Caltrans spokesman, said in September that the roundabout was proposed because crashes occurred as motorists on La Purisima Road turned left or right onto the freeway. Once the $1.3 million project was completed in 2012, Caltrans advised motorists to travel at 15 mph in the area. Shivers said at first he received complaints about the roundabout, but the complaints stopped after a few weeks as motorists became more familiar with the configuration.
Osler had volunteered to work the Canyon Fire on the day of the crash. He worked out of station No. 42 in Moorpark and was among about 50 Ventura County firefighters who responded to the blaze near the base.
Original story here.
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