A 20-year-old Santa Maria man attempting to evade police was killed late Wednesday night when he was struck by several vehicles on Highway 101 near the Santa Maria River bridge after crashing his car, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred just before 10:30 p.m. on the freeway north of Broadway as the vehicle, a 1995 Cadillac, was being pursued by Santa Maria police officers, the CHP said.

The incident started on Betteravia Road west of Miller Street when officers attempted to pull over the Cadillac for traffic violations, the CHP said.

The driver, whose name was not released pending notification of relatives, failed to yield, and headed east on Betteravia before entering northbound Highway 101.

Officers continued the pursuit, which reportedly reached speeds of 100 mph, before discontinuing the chase at Donovan Road for safety reasons, the CHP said.

Moments later, the Cadillac attempted to take the Broadway offramp, but veered off the roadway and crashed through a perimeter fence on the east side of the highway, according to a California Highway Patrol officer.

The momentum carried the Cadillac back through the fence, and it came to a stop near the edge of the roadway.

The driver fled the wrecked Cadillac and ran across the highway to the southbound lanes, where he was struck by several vehicles, suffering fatal injuries, the CHP said. 

The CHP closed all southbound lanes at Highway 166 east, diverting traffic onto Bull Canyon Road, for more than two hours.

As law enforcement personnel investigated the crash scene on both sides of the freeway, residents in the northwest neighborhood nearby rang in the new year by setting off multiple fireworks, filling the sky with bright bursts and loud booms.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com.