A Lompoc woman was arrested after driving the wrong way along Hwy 101 near Goleta early Friday morning, CHP officials say.
At about 3:37 a.m. on Feb. 25, CHP Officer Leal was enforcing a construction zone in the northbound lanes of Hwy 101 when he heard over the radio that a wrong-way driver was headed his way.
The construction zone, located north of Tajiguas Landfill Rd. and south of Mariposa Reina, was manned by 18 Caltrans employees working overnight.
Leal, a member of the Santa Maria Area CHP unit, turned his patrol vehicle's lights and siren on and started a traffic break north of the construction zone.
As the wrong-way driver approached him, Leal saw the driver was not slowing down.
He rammed the left side of his Chevrolet SUV patrol vehicle into the left side of the oncoming Honda Civic, forcibly stopping the driver from continuing down the highway.
Neither Leal nor the wrong-way driver, identified as Lynesy Diane McLain, 31, of Lompoc, were injured in the collision, though both cars showed minor damage.
A Santa Barbara Area CHP unit responded and arrested McLain for DUI.
"Often we see the devastating results of wrong way drivers, and in this case, the officer put his own life in danger," CHP Santa Barbara Commander M. Logie said according to the agency's social media post. "We will never know how many innocent lives were saved by this heroic act."
In Aug. 2021, three people were killed in a wrong-way crash along a nearby stretch of Hwy 101 in Goleta.