Driver accused of killing mother and children charged with murder

November 8, 2019

Vanessa Bley and Max Gleason with their children, Lucienne Gleason and Desmond Gleason


The man whom a California Highway Patrol officer says intentionally crashed his car into an oncoming vehicle on Highway 154 last month, killing a mother and her two young children, has been charged with three counts of murder.

John Roderick Dungan, 28, appeared in court Friday morning in a wheel chair. Additionally, the court revoked Dungan’s bail, and he is now incarcerated in the Santa Barbara County Jail.

John Dungan

Shortly before 5 p.m. on Oct. 25, Dungan was driving a Camaro westbound when he crossed into the eastbound lane and slammed head-on into a sedan driven by Rebecca Vanessa Gloss Bley, 34, of Solvang. Bley and her kids, two-year-old Lucienne Gleason and four-month-old Desmond Gleason, died at the scene.

Dungan suffered critical injuries and was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

An SUV that was following behind the sedan also crashed. A father and son who were inside the SUV emerged from the crash uninjured.

The crash ignited a blaze that burned two acres before firefighters extinguished it.

Following the crash, sheriff’s officials waited to release the identities of the deceased children until a DNA test had been conducted.

Before the identities had formerly been released, the children’s father had already accused Dungan of murdering his family in a failed suicide attempt.

“The love of my life, Vanessa Bley (34), and our two children, Lucienne Bley Gleason (2 years old) and Desmond Bley Gleason (4 months old) were murdered,” Max Gleason wrote in a Facebook post. “My family was murdered. Their death was not some senseless, random act, but a deliberate act of evil. Evil exists in the world. It inhabited John Roderick Dungan and he deliberately ran into my wife’s car in attempt to kill himself and kill others. He succeeded in the latter but not the former. He is still alive. My family is dead.”

A CHP investigation into the crash is still ongoing. The agency has requested that anyone who witnessed the crash or has information about the case call (805) 967-1234.

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“WHOM . . . intentionally crashed his car”? Doesn’t this site have any copy editors?

superiority complex much?

John Dungan obviously had suicidal ideation where he compulsively thought of killing himself by a head-on collision with another vehicle. He wasn’t thinking of killing the occupants of the other car, he just had a compulsion to kill himself in this way. It is tragic that he did kill this man’s family.

I wouldn’t call it premeditated murder, because he wasn’t wanting to kill someone else.

Suicide: a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Come drop the mental health excuse this was John Dungan fault and entirely his responsibility.

Seriously. It is beyond obvious that he did it. But do you think that this is the act of a sane individual? If so, our definitions of sanity are radically different.

Why do you think someone does a thing like this? What would be the rationale? You mean you think this is a healthy behavior? That in itself would make me question your own functionality.

Better mental health care might not have prevented this, but what if it could have? How terribly, terribly tragic. My heart goes out to this husband and father. To call this situation senseless seems highly inadequate.