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KVTA Local News

"Tar Balls" Showing Up On Ventura County Beaches

KVTA News Friday May 29, 2015

Ventura County officials say they are sending clean up crews to beaches all along the county coastline to deal with globs of oil or tar balls that are showing up from Hollywood Beach to Faria Beach.

They say this could be from naturally occurring seeps that produce tar balls on local beaches all the time, or, it could be from the ruptured pipeline and oil spill in Santa Barbara County last week.

They just don't know yet.

Kevin McGowan, manager of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services, says testing will be done to determine the source of the oil but the priority right now is to clean it up.

Chris Stephens, Director of the County Resource Management Agency, says there does not appear to be a significant threat to public health of wildlife at this point.

The public is being asked to report any usually large amount of oil of tar balls in the ocean or on shore to the Coast Guard National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

The public is also advised avoid contact with any oil or tar balls.

Moorpark Man Gets Prison In "Sextortion" Case

KVTA News Friday May 29, 2015

The United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles says that a Moorpark man who used social networking websites to trick, extort or threaten more than a dozen girls and boys into sending him naked photos and videos was sentenced Friday to 15 years in federal prison for producing child pornography.

The judge also ordered that after serving the 15 year sentence, 24-year-old Jeremy Brendan Sears be on supervised release for the rest of his life.

Sears pleaded guilty in January to one count of production of child pornography.

Prosecutors say that Sears would set up fake profiles on Facebook, Meetme and other social networking sites that appeared to be from teenage boys and girls.

He used the bogus online personas to make contact with actual boys and girls and then tricked them into romantic relationships and encouraged them to send nude photos and videos to the fake teens he created.

If that didnt work, he would threaten the real-life teens or their loved ones, with physical harm if necessary, if they did not send the photos and videos.

The authorities say Sears found some of his victims at social networking sites for fans of popular music artists like Justin Bieber or One Direction. 

The crimes were initially discovered and investigated by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department and later the FBI.

VPD Says Homeless Man Burned In Fire Was Not Attacked

KVTA News Friday May 29, 2015

The Ventura Police Department said Friday that an incident involving a homeless man who said he was attacked by three people who set him on fire was likely an accident and he was never attacked.

The incident last January on the beach at the end of Seaward Avenue made national news and resulted in an outpouring a sympathy for 58-year-old John Frazier and anger at the unidentified assailants.

Frazier had told police his attackers poured lighter fluid on him as he slept in a sleeping bag and then set him on fire, resulting in seriously burns.

Police say while there was a witness who saw Frazier on fire, they could not find anyone or any corroborating evidence to confirm he had been attacked.

In fact, during their investigation, police received information from a witness that contradicted Frazier's account and during the follow up investigation, detectives say Frazier became uncooperative and changed his account of the incident.

Finally, detectives consulted with city and county fire investigators who had examined the burn pattern on the sleeping bag and Frazier's clothing.

They said the fire most likely started inside the sleeping bag and burned from the inside out.

Also, the Ventura County Sheriff's Crime Lab tested the fabric for accelerants and found none.

Police say that given all that, they've concluded the incident was likely an accident.

Frazier remains at the LAC + USC Medical Center where he is expected to recover from his injuries.

Ventura Man Admits Sexual Battery In Grant Park

KVTA News Thursday May 28, 2015

A Ventura man who was about to go on trial for misdemeanor sexual battery Thursday decided to change his plea to guilty.

20-year-old David Sanchez had been arrested four months ago in connection with an incident that happened on January 25th near Brakey Road in Grant Park.

Police said that a woman was jogging on the Botanical Garden trails and as she ran past Sanchez who was sitting on a bench he reached out and slapped her slapped her on the buttocks.

When the woman turned to face the suspect, he grabbed her wrists and held her and would not let her go until she tried to kick him.

The victim later told police that the same individual had followed her three months earlier while she jogged through the park and made several vulgar comments about her.

Following his guilty plea Thursday, Sanchez was sentenced to 180 days in jail but since he has already served 90 days and gets credit for another 90 days, the court deemed his jail sentence served.

Sanchez will have to register as a sex offender and is facing fines, penalties and possible restitution to the victim.

Ventura County Teacher Of The Year

KVTA News Wednesday May 27, 2015

(Photo by Alex Wilson, KVTA News showing Kathy Elliott finding out from Pacific High Prinicipal Kenny Loo that she's been named Ventura County Teacher of the Year)

A veteran educator who has spent the past 12 years of her 30 year career teaching "at-risk" students in Ventura was named Ventura County Teacher of the Year Wednesday.

Kathy Elliott teaches 9th through 12th grade English and art at Pacific High School, a continuation school in Ventura.

She was surprised by family, friends, and education officials Wednesday morning when Pacific High Principal Kenny Loo, County Superintendent Stan Mantooth, and Ventura Unified Superintendent Trudy Tuttle Arriaga presented her with the honor.

This year, Elliott created an interdisciplinary learning unit entitled “Elder Buddy and the Aging Brain,” in which students conducted first-hand historical research through weekly visits to their “Elder Buddy” at the Ventura Townehouse and Cypress Place senior communities.

Elliott also began a creative writing unit that empowered students to take the role of a child in the Holocaust.

Students were given a biography of a victim and they created video screenplays, newspaper articles, diaries, journals, or dramas to reflect that person’s experiences. 

Elliot now becomes eligible for the California Teacher of the Year Award in 2016.

Oxnard Woman Sentenced For Incident That Left Son Brain Damaged

KVTA News Wednesday May 27, 2015

An Oxnard woman was sentenced Wednesday for an incident that left her son permanently brain damaged.

The judge gave 29-year-old Silvia Serratos a nine year prison sentence and then suspended it and placed her on five years formal probation instead.

If she violates any provisions of that probation she would have to serve the prison sentence.

She also received a one year county jail sentence, which she has already served.

Serratos had earlier pleaded guilty to felony child endangerment and admitted a special enhancement of causing great bodily injury.

The authorities say that in October of 2012, Serratos left her then two-year-old son locked in her car in Santa Paula while she was working.

The outside temperature that day was 86 degrees and the boy suffered what was described by Santa Paula police as "devastating permanent brain damage."

PCH Closures While Nets Placed Over Rocks

KVTA News Tuesday May 26, 2015

Caltrans says expect delays of up to a half hour at times on Pacific Coast Highway between Las Posas Road to La Jolla Canyon in Point Mugu State Park Wednesday and Thursday.

They're going to be out there using a helicopter and rock climbers to install 35 huge nets on steep slopes in an effort to keep rocks from coming down on the roadway.

They will be working between 6 AM to 8 PM both Wednesday and Thursday.

During that time, they will shut down PCH to both vehicles and bicycles for up to 30 minutes at a time.

They did this once before and it's all because of the damage done by the 2013 Springs wildfire that accelerated the natural erosion of vegetation on the cliffs that would normally help keep the rocks in place.

Port Hueneme Woman Sentenced In Pedestrian Death

KVTA News Tuesday May 26, 2015

A Port Hueneme woman was sentenced Tuesday to a year in the county jail in connection with a hit and run traffic incident that claimed the life of a pedestrian in Oxnard.

27-year-old Tiffany Helling had earlier pleaded guilty to a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death and misdemeanor vehicle manslaughter.

On the night of September 20, 2013, Helling struck 20-year-old Aida Reyes of Oxnard as Reyes was walking across the intersection of Hemlock Street and Capstan Drive in Oxnard.

Reyes died the next morning at the hospital.

Helling left the scene and her vehicle was found abandoned not too far away.

There was an extensive investigation that led to Helling's arrest on October 9, 2013.

Prosecutors tried to sustain a charge of gross negligence and felony vehicular manslaughter based on their assertion that Helling had been texting at the time of the incident, but on three separate occasions, three separate judge's rejected the charge. 

Because Helling had served several months in jail following her arrest, she will get credit for that time and the year in jail she just received at her sentencing Tuesday will be more like two months which might be spent in the work furlough program.

Ventura Garage Fire Blamed On Electrical Outlet

KVTA News Tuesday May 26, 2015

(Photo courtesy Ventura City Fire)

Updated--Ventura City firefighters say a problem with an electrical outlet caused a garage fire early Tuesday morning.

It was reported at 2:37 AM in the 4700 block of Foothill Road, north of the Ventura College campus.

Firefighters say when they arrived on scene they found fire in a garage that's attached to a two story home at the end of a 200 foot long driveway.

The residents of the house got out OK.

The fire was knocked down in about 15 minutes and was confined to the garage.

Damage estimates to structure and contents was $40,000.

Foothill Road was shut down by Ventura police so fire equipment could stage in the area.

Sprinklers Help Suppress Ventura Arson Fire

KVTA News Tuesday May 26, 2015

Ventura City fire investigators say fire sprinklers helped suppress what turned out to be an arson fire on the exterior of an east end business.

They say the fire in the 9200 block of Telephone Road was reported shortly before 2:30 AM Tuesday.

Fire investigators say someone deliberately set fire to the exterior sign of a commercial business, but the fire sprinkler system helped keep the fire confined to the sign and a portion of the adjacent exterior wall of the building.

Most of the fire was out by the time firefighters arrived.

VPD Investigates Commercial Burglaries

KVTA News Tuesday May 26, 2015

Ventura police say that over the past several nights they've seen an increase in commercial burglaries during the late night and early morning hours.

They say the suspect or suspects usually force entry into the business and target the cash drawers.

Four businesses in the 300 block of S. Borchard Drive and two businesses in the 5000 block of Telegraph Road were burglarized early Sunday morning.

Police have released a photo of a suspect from one of the businesses on Telegraph Road.

Anyone with information is asked to contact VPD at 339-4325 or you can make an anonymous tip at Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Oxnard Man Wounded By Gunfire

KVTA News Tuesday May 26, 2015

Oxnard police are looking for suspects and a motive for a shooting late Monday night that left a young man wounded.

They say that shortly after 10 PM, the 24-year-old Oxnard man was walking with friends along the sidewalk in the are of Fushcia and Mariposa streets when a vehicle drove up and someone in the vehicle opened fire.

The victim was shot in the lower torso and underwent surgery at VCMC where he is recovering.

Police released no information about the description of the suspect vehicle or suspects.

Man Rescued After Fall Off Rocks Near Pt. Mugu

KVTA News Monday May 25, 2015

(Photo courtesy Becky Glenn)

Updated--Two people we're rescued off the rocks along Pacific Coast Highway a couple of miles south of Mugu Rock Monday afternoon.

The incident was reported around 4:47 PM on PCH north of Deer Creek Road.

Firefighters say two men were fishing off the rocks when a wave knocked one of them into the ocean.

He was rescued by the other fisherman.

The first man suffered a significant head injury while his rescuer suffered a minor injury.

The patient with the minor injury was treated at the scene but the patient with the head injury was airlifted by the Sheriff's Air Squad 8 helicopter to the trauma center at Los Robles Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, condition unknown.

The right lane of SB PCH was closed initially and then the entire highway in both directions was closed.

They then started alternating traffic control.

The entire roadway was reopened by 6:30 PM.

Near Drowning Off Oxnard Beach

KVTA News Monday May 25, 2015

The Oxnard Fire Department says a young man almost drowned Monday afternoon at a local beach.

They say that around 3 PM, there was a report of a 22-year-old man struggling in the surf off Oxnard State Beach.

Family members said he was face down in the water but a Good Samaritan pulled him out.

The department says as their Water Rescue Team responded to the scene, a pre-deployed Holiday Beach Patrol got to he victim within three minutes and found him on shore, breathing and conscious.

The man was taken to the hospital in stable condition to be checked out.

The Department says a high beach traffic weekends like this one, the Beach Patrol is using deployed with rescue swimmers to deal with such incidents.