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79-year-old victim identified in deadly Hwy 101 crash near Los Alamos


The California Highway Patrol has identified the victim in Tuesday night’s deadly crash in Los Alamos as 79-year-old Florian Paul Sowinski.


The California Highway Patrol is investigating a deadly, head-on collision between a wrong-way driver and a big rig truck on U.S. Highway 101 near Los Alamos Tuesday night.

The crash killed a 79-year-old Santa Maria man whose name has not been released. CHP says they’ll release his name once they hear back from the Coroner’s Office and family has been notified.

Investigators say the 79-year-old was not wearing his seatbelt.

The CHP says it happened just after 9 p.m. along the southbound lanes of Highway 101 north of Los Alamos.

A traffic collision report says the 79-year-old was driving northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 101 just south of Palmer Road.

“We had witnesses report him in the fast lane”, says CHP Officer Rob Wallace, “as he was traveling he missed a few cars and approached two semi’s that were traveling next to each other.”

The CHP says the wrong-way driver was unable to avoid the approaching big-rigs, slamming into one of them and died at the scene.

“He ended up hitting the semi head-on, more of a driver-side to driver-side offset”, Officer Wallace says. The force of the high-speed impact sent the big-rig and the wrong-way driver’s vehicle into the center median.

A third car slid off the highway and into the big-rig after the deadly collision. The big-rig driver and the driver of the third vehicle were not seriously hurt.

CHP is trying to figure out if alcohol, drugs or limited lighting in that area were factors.



The crash happened about 9:20 pm on the southbound side of Highway 101 at Palmer Road. The wrong-way driver’s car hit a semi-truck head on.

We have confirmed the wrong way driver died at the scene. The driver of the big rig is reportedly okay.

The CHP opened one southbound lane about 11 pm. At one point, traffic was backed up from the crash site to Orcutt.

Investigators are on scene trying to determine what happened.

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