SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - A crash that shut down a portion of Highway 1 at Highway 135 Monday night was the result of a law enforcement pursuit.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the crash happened after Vandenberg Space Force Base security forces began pursuing a driver who they say was driving erratically and refused to stop.
The crash happened around 9:45 p.m. on the northbound side of the Highway 1. According to CHP, the driver of a GMC Denali failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway and collided with a mile-marker. His vehicle continued onto a dirt shoulder and went off an embankment and landed on its roof.
The vehicle was seriously damaged and officers said they were unable to open the doors or get to the driver.
The driver was removed from the vehicle around 10:40 p.m. and was declared dead on scene. He's been identified only as a 47-year-old man from Lompoc.
Highway 1 in the area of the crash was closed for several hours.
A spokesman for Vandenberg Space Force Base said a patrolman observed the vehicle driving erratically and said it repeatedly failed to stay in its lane on Highway 1. The base released a statement that reads in part:
"To protect the individual and the public, the 30th SFS patrolmen initiated a traffic stop; however, the individual fled at a high rate of speed, then unintentionally left the roadway, which resulted in the single-vehicle accident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased driver."Col. Robert A. Long, Space Launch Delta 30 commander .
The crash is under investigation by CHP as well as Vandenberg Space Force Base, which Long says is standard procedure.