An elderly man and woman from Woodland Hills were injured Tuesday afternoon when their car crashed and caught fire on Highway 154 near San Marcos Pass, closing one lane for about 30 minutes, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A 2017 Ford Focus driven by Felipe Durban, 79, was eastbound on the highway east of San Marcos Road about 1:25 p.m. when it veered right, struck a drainage culvert and became disabled on the dirt shoulder, said Jonathan Gutierrez, public information officer for the Santa Barbara Area Office of the CHP.

Following the crash, the engine compartment burst into flames, which were smothered with fire extinguishers wielded by witnesses, who also helped the couple out of the vehicle, Gutierrez said.

Durban suffered minor injuries to his back and face, while passenger Teresita Durban also suffered minor injuries and complained of pain to her chest.

Both were transported by AMR ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

The eastbound lane of Highway 154 was closed for about half an hour, with vehicle traffic alternating use of the westbound lane while the couple were examined and transported and the wreckage could be removed.

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In addition to the CHP and AMR, Santa Barbara County Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service units responded to the incident.

Gutierrez said the circumstances of the crash are under investigation by the CHP, but neither drugs nor alcohol are suspected as contributing factors.


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