A Santa Maria man suspected in a local burglary was shot dead Monday on Highway 101 near Buellton, at the end of a pursuit that began near a residence in the Santa Ynez Valley, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
The suspect was identified late Monday night as Matthew Lyell Berg, 47, said sheriff’s spokesman Drew Sugars.
Southbound Highway 101 was shut down north of Buellton for several hours while officers from the Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol investigated the incident, which began at about 12:45 p.m. with a report of a burglary at a home in the 2900 block of West Highway 154, Sugars said.
A resident told deputies that she came home and discovered a burglary in progress, and then observed a man driving away, Sugars said. Deputies began following the suspect vehicle, which headed westbound on Highway 154 at a high rate of speed, and eventually turned south on Highway 101.
Berg exited at Avenue of Flags in Buellton and continued south to Santa Rosa Road, where he began driving the wrong way — northbound — in the southbound lanes, Sugars said.
Deputies and CHP officers continued their pursuit in the northbound lanes, and observed Berg stopping his vehicle on the Santa Ynez River Bridge, Sugars said.
A deputy approached Berg’s vehicle from the north in the southbound lanes, where Berg rammed a sheriff’s patrol car, Sugars said.
At that point, the deputy fired several shots at the suspect and killed him, Sugars said, adding that no one else was injured.
The deputy’s name was not released.
Highway 101 southbound remained closed into Monday evening, and was expected to be shut down for an extended period, Sugars said. Traffic was being diverted off the freeway at Avenue of Flags, and back on at Santa Rosa Road, according to Caltrans.
Northbound lanes remained open, but motorists should expect congestion in the area, Caltrans said.