An allegedly intoxicated tractor-trailer driver who caused a deadly six-vehicle pileup in Orcutt, California, will face at least two criminal charges, investigating authorities say.
On Feb. 7, Gilbert Pena, 56, was driving a tractor-trailer on Highway 135 southbound in Orcutt when his truck slammed into the back of a Nissan sedan, killing 60-year-old Orcutt resident Rickie Motley and his passenger, 24-year-old Solvang resident Jesse Donald Gluyas.
The collision drove the Nissan into four other vehicles causing a pileup that injured two other people. The California Highway Patrol doesn’t know why Mr. Pena drove his tractor-trailer into the cars, but an investigating officer told the Santa Ynez Valley News that Mr. Pena was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol. He was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria for treatment of minor injuries.
The Santa Barbara County and Santa Maria fire departments and other responders worked to free several other motorists who were trapped inside the wrecked vehicles. None of those injuries were considered life-threatening.
Mr. Pena has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol causing injury to a person.
CHP Officer Benjamin Smith told the Santa Ynez Valley News that “additional charges could be added once the investigation is complete.” He said investigators found prescription drugs in Mr. Pena’s possession, but they aren’t sure what drugs were in his system. Toxicology tests aren’t complete, but investigators expect they’ll show what impaired Mr. Pena while he was driving the tractor-trailer.