Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office investigated an accident on March 31, 2018, at the intersection of Hollister Avenue and Storke Road in Goleta, California. Killed in the accident was 19-year-old foreign exchange student Justine Van Ginderachter who was studying in the United States under the Education First program. She and an 18-year-old foreign exchange student were riding in a car driven by a Ventura, California, resident who was working as an Uber driver. The other student was transported by ambulance from the scene with minor injuries.
Reports from the scene indicate that neither had their seatbelts on and that Ginderachter may have been thrown clear of the vehicle when it was struck at approximately 1:38 AM by a blue Hyundai Tucson. A witness at the scene reports that the driver of the Hyundai who was a 24-year-old female Riverside, California, resident may have run a red light. Besides the driver, occupants of the Hyundai included a 16-year-old Riverside resident and a 19-year old Los Angeles resident. Officers believe that the Toyota Camry was traveling northbound on Storke Road when the impact occurred with the Hyundai that was traveling westbound on Hollister Avenue.
Officers with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate the latest Uber accident. Anyone with information is asked to contact Senior Deputy Jeff Farmer at 805-961-7514. Deputy Farmer said that this case is a sad reminder of why everyone needs to wear seatbelts.