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Charges won’t be filed in Lompoc crash that killed Ventura County firefighter

A memorial sits near the Highway 246/Purisima Road roundabout where Engineer Ryan Osler from the Ventura County Fire Department died following a September crash. The memorial includes boots, crosses, helmet, and an American flag, as seen in December.
A memorial sits near the Highway 246/Purisima Road roundabout where Engineer Ryan Osler from the Ventura County Fire Department died following a September crash. The memorial includes boots, crosses, helmet, and an American flag, as seen in December. Noozhawk file photo

After months of investigation, no charges will be filed in connection with the crash that claimed the life of a Ventura County firefighter in September near Lompoc.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Tuesday that her office will not file charges in the crash of a water tender that killed engineer Ryan Osler from the Ventura County Fire Department on Sept. 21.

Osler, the passenger in the tanker truck, and its driver, Ventura County Firefighter Adam Price, were eastbound on Highway 246 en route to the Canyon Fire on south Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Under dark and foggy conditions, the water tanker truck overturned and rolled on its side in the traffic roundabout at Purisima Road.

“After reviewing the investigation completed by the California Highway Patrol and their Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team, no evidence was found of criminal negligence sufficient to support any charges against Mr. Price,” the District Attorney’s Office said.

Osler was pronounced dead at the scene.

Price was taken to nearby Lompoc Valley Medical Center for treatment of moderate injuries.

The cause of the crash was not released Tuesday, and the CHP in Buellton referred questions to the District Attorney’s Office.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Mag Nicola said the truck was not speeding but could not say how fast the vehicle was traveling since the driver had applied the brakes. Another vehicle was following behind the fire truck when it crashed.

The incident has been classified as an accident or misfortune because of low visibility and unfamiliarity with the area, Nicola added.

The Canyon Fire burned more than 12,000 acres before it was extinguished, and delayed a planned Atlas V rocket launch with the WorldView-4 satellite for several weeks.

The blaze was the largest of several wildland fires that sparked at Vandenberg during hot and windy conditions.

Osler, who worked out of Ventura County’s Moorpark Station 42, had been with the department for 18 years.

“This tragedy highlights the dangers our first responders willingly face every day,” Dudley said. “Their risk begins each time they report for duty and continues until they are safely home with their loved ones.

“I extend my deepest sympathy to Ryan Osler’s family and loved ones, along with my heart-felt condolences to Adam Price, his loved ones, and all the women and men of the Ventura County Fire Department,” he added.

Ventura County Fire Department representatives were waiting to receive and review a copy of the investigators’ report and declined to comment at this time, a spokesman said Tuesday afternoon.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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