June 17, 2020 – Santa Barbara County, Ca.
29-year-old Lompoc resident Michael James Culligan was driving through Vandenberg Air Force Base in a stolen Jeep on June 16th while allegedly under the influence of drugs.
According to California Highway Patrol spokesperson Officer Kelly Valdez, the stolen Jeep was traveling on Santa Lucia Canyon Road between Lompoc Federal Prison and the Air Force Base when it crossed over the center median and crashed head-on into an oncoming Lexus sedan.
Upon arrival at the scene, CHP officers found the driver of the Lexus dead and his female passenger suffering critical injuries. The female passenger was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital while a search for Culligan began. “Three hours after the crash,” Valdez reported, “officers found Culligan at a nearby train station.” He was then transported to a holding facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Axelrad, “Culligan allegedly admitted to using drugs before operating the Jeep, crashing the Jeep into another car, and fleeing the scene.”
Because the collision occurred within federal jurisdiction, the accident was investigated by the U.s. Air Force Office of Special Investigations with the CHP and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office “providing substantial assistance.”
Culligan was charged with Felony Involuntary Manslaughter and remains in custody pending his July 7th arraignment hearing in U.S. District Court.