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91-year-old Montecito mudslide evacuee struck, severely injured by suspected drunken driver

Nicholas Hart of Goleta is accused of driving under the influence after he hit and critically injured a 91-year-old man who had been evacuated during the Montecito mudslides.
Nicholas Hart of Goleta is accused of driving under the influence after he hit and critically injured a 91-year-old man who had been evacuated during the Montecito mudslides.

A 91-year-old man displaced after the Montecito mudslides was hit and critically injured by a Goleta driver accused of driving under the influence in the Tuesday night collision, Santa Barbara police said.

Nicholas B. Hart, 26, was driving southbound on State Street when his vehicle struck a pedestrian at the intersection of Micheltorena Street at 7:34 p.m., SBPD spokesman Anthony Wagner said.

The victim, who has not been identified, was attempting to cross the street at the crosswalk in the intersection, police said.

The man, a resident of the Casa Dorinda retirement community who was forced to evacuate in the mudslides, Wagner said, was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Police said Hart has two prior convictions for driving under the influence and had a suspended license at the time of the collision.

Hart was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, causing injury and driving on a suspended license, police said.

Wagner said Hart was also allegedly in possession of an open bottle of alcohol and marijuana at the time of the collision.

He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on $1 million bail, police said.

Recovery crews slowly made progress on Sunday, January 14, 2017, digging away masses of mud, boulders and toppled trees in Montecito, the California community that was ravaged by deadly mudslides. Another body was found Sunday, bringing the number

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNewsand @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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