CHP officers had to intervene Tuesday to prevent a serious accident when a Nipomo man had a medical problem while driving on Highway 101 near Goleta, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The incident occurred shortly after 8 a.m. on southbound Highway 101 north of Turnpike Road, said CHP Officer James Richards.

While on routine patrol, Officer Candis Carlyle came upon a 2007 Chevy HHR that was stopped in the middle of the three lanes, Richards said.

Carlyle stopped her patrol directly behind the vehicle, which was driven by Charles E. Nation, 74, Richards said.

When Carlyle approached Nation, she said he “was unresponsive and stared straight ahead.”

“Officer Carlyle asked Mr. Nation a question, but he mumbled incoherently, as he allowed his Chevrolet to slowly edge forward, foot by foot, for approximately 20 feet, before driving off,” Richards said.

Carlyle gave chase with her lights and siren activated as Nation drove away at 40-45 mph, Richards said.

Nation had difficulty staying in his lane, Richards said, as he continued driving south for several miles.

Eventually Nation encountered traffic stopped ahead, and would have rear-ended a car except that the driver took evasive action.

At that point, “Carlyle determined the risk of Mr. Nation continuing to drive his Chevrolet was far greater than the risk of intervention.”

Carlyle pulled the left front bumper of her patrol car ahead of the Chevrolet, blocking his path to continue straight ahead.

“Despite the patrol car stopped ahead of Mr. Nation, he accelerated and allowed the right front corner of his Chevrolet to strike the left front corner of the CHP patrol car,” Richards said. “Mr. Nation came to a complete stop.”

Nation was treated at the scene, then transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

He told investigators he wasn’t able to recall any portion of the incident until his Chevrolet struck the patrol car, Richards said.

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