A 20-year-old Santa Barbara resident who led CHP officers on a high speed chase early this morning died after crashing his car into the back of a semi while going roughly 110-120 miles per hour.
At about 1:50 a.m, CHP officers traveling northbound on Highway 101 noticed a gray Honda CRV enter the highway from Mission Street and immediately drive to the far left lane, accelerating to roughly 85-90 miles per hour. The officers turned on their lights, but instead of stopping, the Honda accelerated to 110 to 120 miles per hour. With the siren activated and lights flashing, the officers pursued the Honda for roughly seven miles to Glen Annie Road at speeds over 100 miles per hour. Just north of Glen Annie, the Honda changed lanes to the right lane. Roughly 300 feet ahead, a Freightliner tractor trailer truck was driving in the right lane, and the driver of the Honda didn’t brake before it slammed directly into the back of the truck. The Honda’s driver, Ryan Nicholas Hofmann, was killed instantly, according to CHP spokesman Officer Don Clotworthy. Authorities estimate the Honda was traveling between 110 and 120 miles per hour when it hit the truck. The driver of the semi, Juan Jose Flores, 47, of Bakersfield, was uninjured in the crash.
Authorities are still investigating. “Due to the unusual circumstances of this collision and the death of Mr. Hofmann,” Clotworthy said, “the CHP and the Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Department are attempting to determine whether or not this was a completed suicide attempt.”