Officials ID Driver Who Died in Head-on Crash Trying to Pass Slower Traffic on PCH in Santa Barbara County

A Ford Explorer is seen badly damaged after a driver slammed into it head-on on Highway 1 in Santa Barbara County on July 26, 2019, in an image released by county fire officials.

A Ford Explorer is seen badly damaged after a driver slammed into it head-on on Highway 1 in Santa Barbara County on July 26, 2019, in an image released by county fire officials.

Authorities on Wednesday released the name of a man killed last week in a head-on crash while trying to evade slower drivers on Highway 1 near Lompoc.

Patrick Neisinger, a 50-year-old Lompoc man, died at the scene after the force of the July 26 three-car collision sent his vehicle down an embankment off the highway north of Constellation Road, in Vandenberg Village, according to the California Highway Patrol and Santa Barbara County sheriff’s officials.

The driver of the Ford Explorer he ran into head-on, 55-year-old Lompoc resident Brenda Begg, was hospitalized in critical condition, the Sheriff’s Office said.

It’s unclear whether Begg has been released. On Friday, CHP said she was being treated for major injuries that included a compound leg fracture.

The driver of the third vehicle involved was unhurt and able to drive away.

Neisinger had been driving his 1995 Toyota Corolla south on the highway when he apparently became impatient behind a slower-moving vehicle in the left lane. With another vehicle in the right lane, he decided to use the center median to get around both, according to investigators.

While in the median strip, Neisinger hit the driver’s side of the vehicle that had been in front of him, causing his Corolla to spin out of control. It went into the northbound lanes of traffic, where it slammed into Begg’s SUV head-on.

Photos released by first responders showed the Toyota wound up down an embankment, a mangled hunk of metal surrounded by brush.

Begg’s vehicle was also severely damaged, with its font end completely smashed in and windshield and several other windows shattered.

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