‘Just like a bomb explosion’: Four people killed in two-vehicle crash in Santa Maria

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-09 21:36:26-04

Days after a deadly crash, signs of the wreckage remained at the intersection of Stowell and Blosser roads in Santa Maria. 

Two nearby trees were noticeably scarred and candles were set up for those who lost their lives. They’ve been identified as 47-year-old Leonicelle Abaigar of Texas, 52-year-old Necitas Santa Maria of Washington, a 13-year-old girl from Texas, and 27-year-old Jesse Angel Plata, Jr. of Arroyo Grande.

"Just like a bomb explosion with the flame," said Samir Fadel who owns two nearby businesses.

His surveillance camera captured the moment a Toyota Tundra collided with a Cadillac Escalade around 11:20 p.m. on Friday.

"Pretty hard explosion and it’s unseen, like you really couldn’t see the truck that hit the car," Fadel explained. "You can see the SUV but you can’t really notice the car that caused the accident."

The video appears to show that the truck, driven by Plata, ran a red light on Stowell Road approaching Blosser Road.

Those in the area at the time of the wreck described hearing a vehicle that sounded like a rocket just moments before.

"In the video you see the explosion and the SUV rolling down," Fadel continued. "It was pushed so hard that the SUV crashed into the tree and shaved off some of the stuff on the tree and landed in the shopping center across the street."

About a mile away before the deadly crash, calls came in from concerned community members.

"Officers responded to the area of JC Penney of a report of a vehicle driving recklessly in the parking lot," said Sgt. Duane Schneider, Santa Maria Police Department. "When they arrived, the vehicle left the area westbound at a high rate of speed."

Moments later, the crash happened.

Police would not confirm that the truck ran a red light; however, Sgt. Schneider says, "He was definitely going over the speed limit."

Three women and a girl who were passengers in the Escalade died at the scene. 

"It’s a really frustrating day for us," Fadel said. "We couldn’t operate mentally, physically, and emotionally. It was hard for us to open."
Fadel says it’s not the first time this has happened in his 15 years of being in business.

"Occasionally we get a few accidents a year. I would say at least two to three accidents," he said.

But this, he says, is the worst. 

Police say the driver of the Escalade that was hit had minor injuries. Nearby business, Carpets Unlimited, had boarded up windows after an employee there says wreckage flew through the windows. No one was there when it happened.

Officers are asking anyone who might have seen the crash to give them a call (805) 928-3781, ext. 2297.