Photographer at illegal street racing event in Carson beaten and killed on Christmas Day – Daily Breeze
A photographer who documented Southern California’s car culture died during an illegal street racing event in Carson on Friday, Dec. 25, after two vehicles drove towards spectators.
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, his brother, Orange resident Russ Patten, said. Daniel Patten was filming drag races at what sheriff’s officials said was an unlawful assembly.
“I told him at Christmas, when we talked, ‘Be careful when you get out of street racing,'” said his friend, Irvine resident Brian Almas. “A few guys who were with him said, ‘Hey Dano, we have to go, it’s dangerous today.'”
Patten, 66, attracted an audience with his posts featuring hot rods and muscle cars at curated 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 otherwise wouldn’t have attended.
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Footage shot in Carson and posted to social media that day shows a black Cadillac sedan racing a blue car, which crash into each other and then smash into a crowd of people. The legs of an apparently injured bystander lying on the ground can be seen a short distance from two wrecked vehicles in another video recorded near the crash site.
Patten died at the scene. Five other people have been hospitalized, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Morgan Arteaga said. Drivers who took part in the street race fled the scene, 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 might have been involved in a collision. There they found Patten’s van, along with the remains of the crash that killed him.
A set of tire marks stretched from a burnt-rubber-covered street and onto the sidewalk, leading to a tree where mourners laid candles, flowers and other offerings. Broken pieces of the sports car’s rear view 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 out to pay their respects over the weekend. Some have performed burnouts in muscle cars or hit the streets in their lowriders. Most shared stories and told his brother and niece how much he will be missed.
“I’ve never seen so many grown men cry,” LaFamme said.
Russ Patten said his brother doesn’t need to agree with people to get along with them. He described him as a “cleanliness 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 her 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 asking me, ‘Do you see the last video I put out?’ And I was like, ‘You mean the ninety-minute one? Yes, of course, the first ten minutes,” said Russ Patten with a laugh.
The many people who reached out to him and his daughter following his brother’s death made the grieving process easier, he said. Russ Patten was confident that those responsible for the accident would be brought to justice and urged them to ‘make things easier for everyone.
Relatives are planning a cruise through Huntington Beach in memory of Daniel Patten on Wednesday, January 6. Information about the event will be posted by the Surf City Classics car club on social media.
Staff photographer Mindy Schauer contributed to this report.
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