Photographer in illegal street race in Southern California hit and killed on Christmas Day

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A photographer who documented southern California’s automotive culture died during an illegal street race in Carson on Friday, December 25, after two vehicles veered into onlookers.

Daniel “Dano” Patten, who lived in Huntington Beach, was fatally struck on Christmas Day around 1:30 p.m. near East 230th and Banning Streets in Carson, said his brother, Russ Patten, an Orange resident. Daniel Patten was filming drag races in what sheriff officials called an illicit gathering.

“I told him over Christmas when we spoke, ‘Be careful going to the street races,’ said his friend Brian Almas, a resident of Irvine. “A few of the guys who were with him said, ‘Hey Dano, we have to go, it’s dangerous today.'”

Patten, 66, drew an audience with her posts featuring hot rods and muscle cars at organized venues in and around Southern California.

Illegal street racing “was absolutely not his scene,” said his girlfriend, Tammy LaFlamme, of La Mirada. However, with many events canceled to reduce the spread of COVID-19, she and Almas believe boredom may have brought the prolific videographer to an event he would not have been to otherwise.

Footage shot at Carson and posted to social media that day shows a black Cadillac sedan racing a blue car, crashing into one another and then rushing into crowds of people. The legs of an apparently injured bystander lying on the ground can be seen a short distance from two crashed vehicles in another video recorded near the crash site.

Patten died at the scene. Five other people were hospitalized, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Morgan Arteaga said. The drivers who took part in the street race fled, she said.

Relatives knew something was wrong when Patten didn’t show up for dinner with his brother, LaFlamme said. She spent the whole night trying to reach him, then rushed to Carson on Saturday morning with friends after learning he could have been in a collision. There, they found Patten’s van, along with the remains of the accident that killed him.

A cluster of tire marks stretched from a street covered in burnt rubber to the sidewalk, leading to a tree where mourners placed candles, flowers and other offerings. Shattered pieces of the sports car’s side mirror lay on the sidewalk not far from the makeshift memorial.

Dozens of people who knew Patten personally or through his videos and photos came to pay homage to him this weekend. Some have burned out in muscle cars or wandered the streets in their lowriders. Most shared stories and told his brother and niece how much we will miss him.

“I’ve never seen so many grown men cry,” LaFamme said.

Russ Patten said his brother doesn’t have to be okay with people to get along with them. He described him as a “neat freak” who washed his van every day and a dynamo who showed up early and left late to photograph every car at an event.

LaFlamme said Patten had an encyclopedic knowledge of automobiles as well as a deep passion for photography, and served as a mentor to him and many others. Almas, through tears, called Patten his best friend and thanked him for capturing so many memories in countless hours of videos and images.

“He was always like ‘You see that last video I released?’ And I would say, ‘You mean the one that lasts ninety minutes? Yeah, sure, the first ten minutes, ”Russ Patten said with a chuckle.

The many people who contacted him and his daughter following the death of his brother made the grieving process easier, he said. Russ Patten was confident that those responsible for the crash would be brought to justice and urged them to “make it easier for everyone.”

“Come back. “

Relatives are planning a cruise to Huntington Beach in memory of Daniel Patten on Wednesday, January 6. Information about the event will be disseminated by the Surf City Classics automobile club on social media.

Personal photographer Mindy Schauer contributed to this reporting.


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