Crime

New hearing set for driver charged with murder, DUI in fatal Orcutt crash

Cameron Oliver
Cameron Oliver

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled in early 2018 for the man accused of driving under the influence and speeding, causing a crash that killed two women and injured a third passenger in Orcutt earlier this year.

Cameron Oliver, 25, was in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Monday for a brief hearing before Judge James Voysey.

Oliver previously pleaded not guilty to two murder charges and driving with a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.08 percent causing bodily injury to a third passenger.

The defendant was driving a vehicle at high speed Feb. 6 with three passengers on Highway 135 when it veered off the roadway, crashed through a fence, struck a concrete bench and overturned onto Orcutt Road, the California Highway Patrol said.

Leann Stauffer and Tricia Jensen, both 37 and from Santa Maria, were fatally injured in the crash.

Stauffer and Jensen, a Nipomo native and Arroyo Grande High School graduate, were passengers in a 2016 Lexus traveling north on Highway 135 north of Lakeview Road in Orcutt when the vehicle crashed.

Jensen’s friend, Thomas Binnebose, told The Tribune in February that she was a devoted, supportive mother of three young children and a small-business owner who loved to exercise.

“She literally was like the Energizer Bunny,” he said at the time. “She was always active and always on the go.”

Oliver also faces special allegations that he had a blood alcohol content above 0.15 percent, drove at least 30 mph above the speed limit and has been convicted of a prior DUI offense.

According to the criminal complaint, Oliver allegedly had a blood alcohol content that exceeded 0.19 percent and was driving more than 125 mph at the time of the crash.

Oliver has a prior conviction for drunken driving from San Diego County and was on probation for a domestic violence incident at the time of his arrest in this case, according to authorities.

S.E. Ballard, from the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office, suggested returning Jan. 8 for a preliminary hearing setting and scheduling the preliminary hearing for Feb. 5.

The defense team has more work to do, Ballard said in explaining the delay until early next year, and is continuing to negotiate a possible plea deal with the prosecution team.

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