According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, the 21-year-old Rancho Santa Fe driver who was involved in a collision on Christmas Eve died at 3:58 p.m. on Christmas Day at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. The incident took place when he was driving one of the fastest street-legal cars in the world, an Ariel Atom. He was traveling westbound on La Orilla near El Camino Real at a high speed when he lost control on the two-lane winding road. He crossed into the eastbound lane and struck a Ford Expedition head-on. The 62-year-old driver of the SUV and his female passenger were transferred to the same hospital with minor to moderate injuries.

Both the driver and the passenger in the Ariel Atom were unconscious when firefighters and paramedics arrived at the scene. The passenger was flown by medical helicopter to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido. Firefighters from Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe extinguished a fire that ignited in the SUV.

The California Highway Patrol said that it was not yet clear whether drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision. They also haven’t determined how fast the Ariel Atom driver was going or if he had been racing during the time of the collision. The speed limit in the area is 40 mph. Both the driver and the 21-year-old passenger were wearing helmets.

In this particular case, since an Ariel Atom is extremely rare and is designed to travel from zero to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds, it is possible that speed may have been a factor in the sports car colliding with the SUV. Authorities may determine that that additional factors such as debris on the road, distracted driving or a variety of other situations contributed to the head-on collision.

Source: UT San Diego , “Sports car driver critically injured in Rancho Santa Fe crash”, Susan Shroder, December 24, 2014