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Lompoc man pleads guilty to causing deadly crash near Vandenberg SFB

Fatal crash Santa Lucia Canyon .jpg
Posted at 1:28 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 22:48:38-04

A Lompoc man faces up to eight years in federal prison for causing a deadly crash near Vandenberg Space Force Base last year.

Michael James Culligan, 30, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of involuntary manslaughter.

The crash happened on the afternoon of June 16, 2020, on base property along Santa Lucia Canyon Road. Culligan was driving a stolen vehicle when he veered to the right shoulder then swerved into oncoming traffic, hitting another car head-on.

The driver of that car, a 35-year-old man from Santa Maria, was killed. His passenger, a 37-year-old woman from Santa Maria, reportedly suffered major injuries.

Culligan fled the scene and was found a few hours later hiding in a drainpipe.

Federal officials say Culligan admitted to causing the crash and that he was under the influence of drugs at the time.

Culligan is scheduled to be sentenced in January.