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KVTA Local News

Lemon Truck Crash Sours Traffic On 126 In Ventura

KVTA News Wednesday August 24, 2016

(Photo courtesy Michael Medart)

Updated---The CHP says a big rig truck and trailer hauling 64,000 pounds of lemons overturned Wednesday afternoon blocking the EB 126 and the on ramp to EB 126 at Wells Road in Ventura.

The minor injury crash happened shortly before 3:30 PM and has caused a significant backup on the EB 126 and NB Wells Road.

EB traffic was squeezing through using the center divider, but the backup EB was past Kimball Road in Ventura.

WB 126 was not impacted.

NB Wells Road (Hwy 118-LA Ave) was backed up to Rose Avenue because the on ramp to EB 126 was blocked.

The CHP says this is going to be a long term problem since they have to off load the lemons before they can get the big rig back on its wheels.

Santa Paula Man Arrested For East Ventura Robbery

KVTA News Wednesday August 24, 2016

Ventura police say they arrested a Santa Paula man for robbery and other charges in connection with an incident Wednesday morning in east Ventura.

They say around 10:40 AM the victim returned to his vehicle that was parked in the 11100 of Citrus Drive to find the suspect inside the vehicle in the process of stealing two cell phones.

The suspect fled but the victim gave chase and during the foot pursuit police say the suspect pepper sprayed the victim.

Police say a concerned citizen witnessed what was happening and tried to help, but the suspect pepper sprayed him.

The suspect then dropped the stolen cell phones and fled.

Officers arrived and while looking for the suspect and investigating the incident discovered that the suspect had apparently abandoned what turned out to be a stolen vehicle near where the original incident took place.

That's when the suspect showed up and they chased him and caught him.

Police arrested 29-year-old Raymond Gonzalez of Santa Paula.

Meanwhile, the Good Samaritan who tried to help was taken to VCMC to be treated for a medical complication related to being pepper sprayed.

Rey Fire Approaches 30,000 Acres

KVTA News Tuesday August 23, 2016

(Photo courtesy USFS)

The "Rey Fire" in Santa Barbara County was put at 29,664 acres Tuesday morning.

Fire officials say it's 30% contained.

They expect what they describe as "extreme burning" on the fire's eastern flank as it moves towards the Dick Smith Wilderness" area.

There are more than 1400 personnel assigned to the fire.

The steep, rugged, terrain limits the ability to build containment lines so a lot of the containment will be based on allowing the fire to burn to natural fire breaks.

In this case, the fire has approached the area burned out by the 2007 Zaca Fire.

Aircraft, including water-dropping helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft dropping fire retardant.

The fire started last Thursday north of Paradise Road in the Santa Ynez Valley and has burned mainly in remote areas.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

So far it's not been a threat to populated areas but wind shifts have sent smoke and ash towards southern Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

Major Sex Trafficking Ring Busted

KVTA News Tuesday August 23, 2016

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Sheriff's Department)

The authorities say that a sophisticated sex trafficking operation that kept more than two dozen Chinese women in what amounted to slavery at motels throughout Central and Southern California has been brought down following a six month investigation that began in Ventura County.

Five people from Los Angeles County have been arrested and millions of dollars seized in connection with the human trafficking organization that conducted business through Internet ads.

The victims, women in their 30's and 40's, were brought into the United States on what appeared to be legitimate visas and then forced to work providing sex to customers at motels in eight California counties, including Ventura County.

It was a prostitution sting at one of those motels in Ventura County that morphed into a major local, state and federal agency investigation into the organization that operated like a well organized company.

Ventura County authorities say the leaders of the sex ring allegedly laundered the profits through real estate transactions while the victims were beaten and abused and mired in debt created by charging them for the basic necessities of life plus the costs of conducting business.

The authorities say most of the victims spoke little or no English and were forced to work from early morning until late at night, never being allowed the leave the motel room.

The five suspects who were arrested in connection with operating and controlling the operation were identified by the authorities as 40-year-old Hsin Chieh "Jerry" Wang of Covina, 33-year-old Defung Hu of San Gabriel, 42-year-old Yiwen Wang of Covina, 63-year-old Jiuyin Cui of Rosemead, and, 32-year-old Runan Xia of Alambra.

All were booked into the Ventura County Jail on $5 million bail each.

Laut Sentenced To 50-Years-To-Life In Prison

KVTA News Tuesday August 23, 2016

(Photo by Alex Wilson, KVTA News of Laut family and prosecutor at courthouse)

The Oxnard woman convicted of killing her Olympic medalist husband seven years ago was sentenced Tuesday to 50-years-to-life in prison.

A jury had earlier found 59-year-old Jane Laut guilty of first degree murder in the August 2007 shooting death of her husband Dave Laut at their Oxnard home.

She had claimed the killing was in self defense after years of spousal abuse but the jury did not buy that story.

Dave Laut's family was in court and spoke at the Tuesday sentencing hearing saying his good name had been dragged through the mud in a defense effort to justify what had happened.

The sentencing came a day after the defense lost a bid to seek a new trial on the basis of an appellate court ruling in another case regarding the scope of expert witness testimony on the issue of spousal abuse.

The defense still plans to appeal the conviction and sentence on several grounds.

Santa Barbara County's Rey Fire 27,096 Acres

KVTA News Monday August 22, 2016

(Photo by Mike Eliason, SB County Fire shows Ventura County Copter 6 against a massive smoke cloud from the Rey Fire)

**Updated---Drift smoke from the "Rey Fire" could impact Ventura County**

Updated--The "Rey Fire" in Santa Barbara County has grown to 27,096 acres as of Monday evening.

It is 30% contained with its most active and explosive flank heading east and northeast towards the Dick Smith Wilderness area.

Almost 1400 personnel are assigned to the fire with nighttime efforts limited by the steep, rugged terrain.

Daytime operations are dominated by retardant-dropping fixed wing aircraft, including a DC-10, and water-dropping helicopters including one from Ventura County.

Evacuation orders remain in effect for the campgrounds north of Paradise Road near where the fire started on Thursday afternoon.

The fire continues to produce massive smoke clouds that can be seen over a wide area, but officials say it is still burning in remote areas far away from population centers.

Cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Deputies Check Up On Registered Sex Offenders

KVTA News Monday August 22, 2016

Ventura County Sheriff's deputies spent Saturday checking up on registered sex offenders in several areas of the county.

They conducted compliance checks from 8 AM to 2 PM in Fillmore, Ojai, Thousand Oaks and Moorpark as well as the unincorporated areas near those contract cities.

They checked up on 37 registered sex offenders to make sure they were living where they were supposed to and were in compliance with the terms and conditions of their sex offender status.

Of the 37, 35 were verified to be in compliance.

Deputies say of the two others, one of them, 58-year-old Robert Chrysler of Ojai was allegedly found to be out of compliance and arrested for the felony offense of failing to report that he had moved.

The other person was not located because he had moved and deputies will do follow up to see if he is out of compliance.

These compliance check sweeps are conducted in every jurisdiction in the county on a regular basis and are financed through a special grant that can only be used for doing this.

Residents can check up on registered sex offenders by using the Megan's Law website

Ojai Woman Arrested For DUI In Wrong Way Crash

KVTA News Monday August 22, 2016

The California Highway Patrol says an Ojai woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI-alcohol following a wrong way driving traffic collision on the 101 Freeway in Santa Barbara Sunday night.

They say it happened as the vehicle driven by 22-year-old Amanda Rose Valenzuela of Ojai was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of the 101 starting around Garden Street in Santa Barbara around 8:14 PM.

The CHP alleges that her vehicle caused or was involved in several vehicle crashes just south of Mission Street.

They say Valenzuela was the most seriously injured person in the incident, receiving moderate injuries when her vehicle collided head on with another vehicle.

She was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where she was arrested by the CHP.

The drivers of five other vehicles, including residents of Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Clarita, and San Francisco, either had minor injuries or were not injured in the incident. 

The incident blocked the middle and left lanes of the SB 101 at Mission for about a half hour Sunday night.

Rey Fire In Santa Barbara County 21,172 Acres

KVTA News Sunday August 21, 2016

(Photo courtesy of Ventura County Air Unit-Gibraltar Reservoir Lake in foreground)

The "Rey Fire" in Santa Barbara County continues to grow, but officials say despite the large, ominous, smoke cloud that can be seen from Ventura County, populated areas are still not threatened.  

As of late Sunday afternoon, the fire has grown to 21,172 acres with only 20% containment.

Fire officials say the steep, rugged and remote location of the fire makes night operations difficult.

They say the fire continues to grow on its eastern flank.

There are 1260 personnel from several different agencies involved in battling the blase.

The fire started Thursday afternoon north of Paradise Road and burned towards the northwest.  

Campgrounds in that area were evacuated, displacing several hundred people.

Paradise Road remains closed, but Highway 154 is open.

One Dead, One Injured, In Crash Near Santa Paula

KVTA News Sunday August 21, 2016

(Photo courtesy Air Squad 8

Updated--One person is dead, another injured, in a head on crash on Highway 150 near Steckel Park north of Santa Paula.

The crash happened short after 2 PM Sunday and involved two vehicles.

Both the person who died, and the other who suffered moderate injuries, had to be extricated from the wreckage by firefighters.

Ventura County Air Squad 8 responded to the scene but was released after it was determined that the person who was injured would be taken to the hospital by ground ambulance.

The crash and the emergency vehicles that responded blocked the roadway backing up traffic on Highway 150 in that area.

The roadway was reopened around 5 PM

The CHP and Ventura County Medical Examiner's Officer will investigate the crash.

No name or other details have been released yet.

Santa Barbara Wildfire More Than 13,000 Acres

KVTA News Saturday August 20, 2016

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Air Unit)

Updated--The "Rey Fire" burning in Santa Barbara County is now more than 13,000 acres.

Officials say that while the fire has been producing large smoke cloud that can be seen over a wide area, it is still burning very far away from populated areas and is not a threat.

The latest information is that containment remains at 10% and that 550 firefighters are assigned to the blaze.

The fire is burning in the Los Padres National Forest near the Santa Ynez Valley in remote and rugged terrain.

The fire started Thursday afternoon near Paradise Road and grew quickly to the northwest.

Several hundred people, mainly campers, were evacuated when the fire broke out.

There are firefighters from the USFS, Santa Barbara County Fire and other agencies battling the fire.

Cause of the fire is unknown, but there was a report of a downed power pole near the point of origin.