The name of the Santa Maria man killed in a head-on collision on Santa Lucia Canyon Road last week has been released by the U.S. Air Force.
Michael Daniel Martinez, 37, was fatally injured in the crash, according to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene of the two-vehicle collision near the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex.
Although the road is public, the section where the crash occurred is considered federal jurisdiction, leading Vandenberg officials to investigate the collision and release, days later, the victim’s name.
Normally crash victims’ names are released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Coroner’s Bureau once the family has been notified.
California Highway Patrol officers said the driver of the southbound Jeep crossed over into the path of a northbound Lexus, driven by Martinez.
His passenger, Nicole Spadaro, 37, of Santa Maria, was critically injured and airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, according to the CHP.
The Jeep’s driver, Michael James Culligan, 29, of Lompoc, was arrested following the June 16 crash, and made his initial appearance a day later in U.S. District Court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Culligan has been charged in a criminal complaint with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter within federal jurisdiction, due to the location of the crash.
Culligan left the crash scene on foot, but was captured. Law enforcement officers recovered empty alcoholic beverage containers and Culligan’s California identification card inside the vehicle.
Investigators also determined that the Jeep had been reported stolen from Lompoc, and that its license plates belonged to a different car, a federal Department of Justice spokesman said.
A witness to the crash said the driver of the Jeep appeared to have lost control, drove into the oncoming lane of traffic, and then head-on into the Lexus, the federal affidavit states.
A federal judge has ordered Culligan to remain in custody, and set July 7 for an arraignment hearing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.