The deaths of two Santa Barbara County women who were struck by vehicles on Highway 154 last week have been tied to a chase after a loose dog.
Sheriff's Lt. Butch Arnoldi tells the Santa Maria Times that 54-year-old Sara Ornelas and 49-year-old Barbara Romero were driving to a casino at 11:45 p.m. on Dec. 21 when they pulled over west of Lake Cachuma.
It's believed that when one of them opened a door their small dog jumped out into traffic and was struck.
One of the women went to retrieve the dog and was also struck.
Arnoldi says the other women went to save her companion and was also struck multiple times. Both women and the dog were fatally injured.