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Lompoc man sentenced to 4 years in prison for deadly crash near Vandenberg Air Force Base

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Posted at 6:54 PM, Feb 16, 2022

A Lompoc man was sentenced Wednesday to three years and ten months in federal prison for causing a deadly crash near Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Officials say 30-year old Michael James Culligan crashed a stolen Jeep near Vandenberg Air Force Base while under the influence of drugs, killing one motorist and severely injuring another.

Culligan was sentenced after pleading guilty in September to one count of involuntary manslaughter.

The crash happened on June 16, 2020, at approximately 12:30 p.m. Investigators say Culligan drove a stolen 2019 Jeep Wrangler on Vandenberg Air Force Base property, which is now known as Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Investigators say Culligan veered onto the right shoulder swerving into the oncoming lane of traffic and collided head-on with a blue Lexus sedan, killing its driver and seriously injuring its passenger. Following the traffic collision, Culligan climbed out of the jeep's sunroof and fled the scene. He was later found hiding in a drainpipe.

Court documents show Culligan was under the influence of illegal narcotics at the time of the crash.

Culligan has been in federal custody since June 2020.

“The severity and tragedy of [Culligan’s] conduct cannot be overstated,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “His disregard for the safety of the community was staggering. Driving a stolen car while drunk and high is the very epitome of recklessness and, sadly, [Culligan’s] conduct had consequences.”