Driver in deadly wreck released from hospital, booked in jail

SANTA BARBARA — A woman suspected of sparking a deadly crash in Santa Barbara last month while intoxicated was released from the hospital Oct. 27 and booked into county jail.

On the night of Sept. 15, Priscilla Susman, 54, made an illegal U-turn on State Highway 154 between Santa Barbara and Solvang that ultimately led to a six-car pileup and the death of Lisel Ryden, 73. According to California Highway Patrol spokesman Jeremy Wayland, Susman’s vehicle crossed the double yellow line “more than once before impacting oncoming vehicles.”

Priscilla Susman - CHP Mugshot

The crash was observed by multiple witnesses who had been attempting to contact 911 to report a dangerous driver. Susman’s vehicle was said to have slowed on the heavily trafficked two-lane highway, abruptly making a U-turn in the middle of the road. Susman’s vehicle continued moving erratically as it entered a high-speed curve and sideswiped an oncoming Pontiac, causing both cars to spin out of control into traffic moving in both directions. Two other vehicles traveling downhill impacted Susman’s vehicle. One of those cars was driven by Ryden.

Susman herself was seriously injured in the accident and has been recovering for the past six weeks at Santa Barbara’s Cottage Hospital.

“Upon discharge, she was served with an arrest warrant and taken into custody,” Wayland said.

Susman was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of manslaughter and felony driving under the influence.

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