Two Lompoc women were killed and a Goleta man was critically injured early Friday in a fiery head-on vehicle crash near Gaviota, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Firefighters and other emergency personnel were dispatched shortly after 4 a.m. to the collision on Highway 1 about a mile west of Highway 101, said Mike Eliason, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
The occupants of a Chevy Malibu — Jenna Causby, 19, and Dorothyann Guthrie, 20, both of Lompoc — were declared dead at the scene, according to CHP Officer Gabe Rodriguez.
Details on his condition were not available.
The collision occurred as Nelson was southbound on Highway 1 at 80 mph in a Ford C-Max, Rodriguez said, while Causby was driving northbound.
“The crash occurred as Nelson overtook slower traffic traveling southbound directly in front of him,” Rodriguez said.
Nelson “wantonly passed over solid double yellow lines, traveling the wrong way” and directly into the path of the Malibu, Rodriguez said.
Both drivers swerved, but were unable to avoid a collision, which rotated the vehicles around before they came to rest.
After the crash, both vehicles were engulfed in flames, which were doused by firefighters.
Nelson was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, Rodriquez said, with charges pending toxicology tests.
Highway 1 was closed in both directions for a time following the collision, which remained under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.
Rodriguez said it has not been determined whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.