Crash: A Big Blue Bus hit a car and then hit the Firestone garage on January 2. No injuries were reported in the incident but a pedestrian was killed in an unrelated accident on the same day. Matthew Hall


If you were celebrating New Year just a few days ago, it would’ve been impossible to escape the near-torrential rain that soaked Santa Monica in the early hours of Jan.1

If you were celebrating New Year just a few days ago, it would’ve been impossible to escape the near-torrential downpour that soaked Santa Monica in the early hours of Jan. 1 and the wet weather caused at least one death on the suddenly slick roads. 

According to the National Weather Service, the storm unloaded over two inches of rain in the San Gabriel, Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys, plus many areas of metro Los Angeles, including Hollywood and Santa Monica.

As is so often the case in Southern California, the sudden fall of such a large amount of rain can very easily cause a number of dents, dings, collisions and crashes on the roads which very quickly become greasy and slippery. 

On Jan. 2, at approximately 2:50 p.m., Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) responded to an incident in the 1800 block of Lincoln Blvd where a Big Blue Bus collided with a vehicle, then crashed into a tree that fell on top parked cars, before hitting Firestone Tires and finally coming to a complete stop. The bus driver was transported to the hospital to be medically evaluated and thankfully there were no reports of any injuries to either any of the 15 passengers on the bus or any occupants of the vehicles.  

Also on Jan. 2, at approximately 3:15 p.m., the SMPD responded to an incident involving a single vehicle that crashed into a tree at the intersection of Ocean Ave and San Vicente Blvd. The driver of that vehicle was transported to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries.  

Finally, at about 6:23 p.m. on the same day, officers reacted to a fatal collision in the 400 block of 26th Street when a solo-occupied vehicle traveling northbound collided with a pedestrian who walked into the roadway. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was subsequently pronounced dead. The driver was cooperative and remained on scene.  

And with another “atmospheric river” arriving this week, residents across Southern California could face up to another eight inches of rain in some areas. Consequently, police are urging drivers — and pedestrians — to exercise extreme caution.

“Driving in the rain, whether a sprinkle or a heavy downpour, can be difficult and dangerous,” said Lt. Rudy Flores, Public Information Officer for the SMPD. “Inclement weather conditions are directly associated with higher accident rates. Drivers are reminded to slow down, maintain a safe distance between cars, turn on your headlights, avoid heavy braking and make sure to double check your car’s equipment prior to a commute in the rain.”

Scott Snowden

Scott Snowden started with the SMDP in 2023 with a long list of journalistic experience. He has written local and international investigative work in Forbes, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, The...