The Cambrian

Cambria residents Shirley and Bill Bianchi witness deadly rollover

When an SUV crashed Saturday on Highway 1 near Cayucos, killing two people — a 22-month old toddler and a 17-year-old boy — Shirley and Bill Bianchi of Cambria were too close for comfort.

As the SUV careened toward the east, it passed within a few feet of a car driven by Shirley Bianchi, former county supervisor. She and husband were headed home to Cambria on Saturday, Oct. 25, after attending a special event in San Luis Obispo and doing some shopping.

When Mengore’s vehicle “was coming at us, at an angle across the highway but still going south,” Shirley Bianchi recalled Monday, “it was heading right toward the passenger side, right for Bill all I could think of was how much I love the stubborn old Swiss.”

Briefly, the SUV was on two wheels and passing so close to the Bianchi car that Bill Bianchi could not only see the vehicle’s undercarriage, he saw that it was dirty.

“It was still going so fast,” Shirley Bianchi said, “that after it went down into the Caltrans right of way, it apparently hit one of the cypress trees, and broke a lower branch that was about two-and-a-half feet in diameter” and the car kept going.

The driver of the SUV, Tanner Mengore, 22, of Los Osos, was on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI.