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KVTA Local News

No Murder Charge In Death Of Ventura Motorcyclist

KVTA News Tuesday July 26, 2016


Prosecutors decided not to file a murder charge in the Friday crash that killed a motorcyclist on Kimball Road in east Ventura.

Police had arrested 24-year-old Victor Martinez of Santa Paula for second degree murder in connection with the hit and run death of 80-year-old Richard Lunsford of Ventura.

Prosecutors instead filed felony vehicular manslaughter, felony hit and run causing death, felony evading an officer causing death and a felony count of carrying a loaded, unregistered, firearm in a vehicle, among other charges and a special allegation.

Martinez, who had been in jail on more than $1 million bail, had his bail reduced to $500,000.

He is still in custody and will be in court Wednesday to be arraigned.

The authorities say the fatal crash occurred after Martinez, who had been out on bail pending an unrelated criminal case, was involved in a hit and run crash with an unmarked Ventura detective vehicle on the westbound 126 and then failed to stop when a marked patrol vehicle attempted to pull him over as he exited the 126 at Kimball.

They say Martinez traveled through a red light and collided with three vehicles, including the fatal collision with Lunsford's motorcycle.

Police say he then continued south of Kimball, abandoned his vehicle while it was still moving and fled on foot, dropping the gun along the way before convincing an unsuspecting motorist to give him a ride.

That vehicle was spotted later and Martinez was finally taken into custody. 

The charges filed against Martinez Tuesday by the DA would mean a maximum possible sentence of 16 years in prison if Martinez were convicted.

Public Help Sought In Thousand Oaks Pharmacy Burglaries

KVTA News Tuesday July 26, 2016


Deputies in Thousand Oaks are seeking public help in identifying the suspect in at least two pharmacy burglaries in that city.

They both happened on July 1st and involved a lone male suspect who was captured on security video (see photo).

Deputies say the suspect forced entry into the two pharmacies, removed prescription drugs from locked cabinets and then fled.

He was dressed differently in each burglary, dark colored Docker style pants and windbreaker jacket in one and a jumpsuit with a nylon stocking over his face in the other.

He is believed to be between 6' to 6'5", 170-200 pounds in his late 40's to early 50's and hunched over with a distinctive gait.

Deputies say the illegal prescription drug problem has spawned more than 100 pharmacy burglaries in Southern California during the past six months with more than 20 of those in Ventura County.

If you have any information on this crime, please contact Thousand Oaks Detective Laura Natoli at (805) 494-8226 or at Laura.natoli@ventura.org.

Ex County Government Employee Sentenced For Worker's Comp Fraud

KVTA News Tuesday July 26, 2016

The Ventura County District Attorney's Office says a former employee for the County of Ventura was sentenced to five years formal probation, 109 days in jail and ordered to pay $14,007 in restitution for workers compensation fraud.

Prosecutors say that a jury convicted 49-year-old Linda Boggess of Ventura on four felony counts.

They say in March of 2007 Boggess, who worked for the Ventura County Human Services Agency, filed a workers comp claim saying she experienced "paralyzing pain".

She received medical treatment and temporary disability payments until November 2011 when she was cleared to return to work without restrictions.

The DA says shortly after that, Boggess provided new work restrictions from a separate doctor that limited her to lifting no more than five pounds.

The county, which is self insured, investigated her claim in January of 2012 and they say captured Boggess on video lifting car tires mounted on wheels each weighting 45 pounds and then carrying them for about 50 feet.

Prosecutors say that in March of 2012 Boggess testified at a deposition that she couldn't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk.

Driver Arrested In Fatal Newbury Park Crash

KVTA News Monday July 25, 2016


Deputies say they've arrested the driver of a vehicle that crashed in Newbury Park Sunday night, killing his passenger.

They say that 19-year-old Josue Arturo Hernandez of Mission Hills was driving southbound on Rancho Dos Vientos south of Via Bonito around 7:13 PM in a Porsche Boxster when he failed to negotiate a curve, left the roadway and hit a small tree.

Deputies say the vehicle continued southbound and slammed into a second, larger tree.

His passenger, 30-year-old Zachary Allen Crook of Thousand Oaks, was trapped in the wreckage and was extricated by firefighters and taken to Los Robles Medical Center where he died.

Hernandez was helped out of the vehicle by citizens before firefighters arrived and was taken to Los Robles for observation.

Deputies say when Hernandez was released from the hospital Monday he was arrested for Vehicular Manslaughter and Felony DUI-Alcohol.

Investigators say that alcohol and excessive speed were factors in the crash.

Local Fire Crews Helping Battle Against Sand Fire

KVTA News Monday July 25, 2016

(Ventura County Fire Engine 26 providing structure protection in Placerita Canyon)

A number of firefighters and equipment from fire departments in Ventura County are among the 3,000 local, state and federal personnel battling the massive Sand Fire burning along the east side of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The fire has burned more than 33,000 acres, destroyed at least 18 homes and is threatening thousands of others. It's only 10% contained.

The LA County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of one man found in his home on Iron Canyon Road Saturday that is believed to be fire related. 

The 14 Freeway through that area remains open, barely, and several ramps in the fire area are closed.

Woman Killed In Ojai Valley Crash Identified

KVTA News Monday July 25, 2016

The Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office has identified the woman killed in a head on crash in the Ojai Valley Friday.

They say that 29-year-old Kiera Boyd died after her 2003 Volkswagon Passat veered to the right on westbound 150 west of Old Baldwin Road, hit the guardrail on the right shoulder and then traveled back across the westbound lane and into the eastbound lane where she collided head on with a 2015 Tesla Model S.

Boyd was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 54-year-old Ojai man driving the Tesla received moderate injuries.

The CHP says they're still trying to determine why Boyd veered off the the right in the first place. 

The CHP said that Boyd was from Ventura, but the Medical Examiner's Office listed her home as Camarillo.

Oxnard Gang Member Gets 24 Years For Crime Spree

KVTA News Monday July 25, 2016


A judge Monday sentenced an Oxnard teen in connection with a crime spree in Oxnard during February of 2015.

Prosecutors say that on February 11, 2015, Salvador Maldonado, who was 17 at the time, robbed two people at gunpoint.

They say he took the keys to one victim's vehicle and drove it away.

It was found abandoned three days later.

Prosecutors say that on February 15, 2015, Maldonado brandished a shotgun at a 16-year-old male who was walking in Oxnard and robbed him of his cell phone, watch and cash.

They say a half hour later, Maldonado carjacked two people at gunpoint and forced them to drive him to another location in Oxnard where he robbed them of cash and their cell phones and then stole their vehicle.

The next day Maldonado was captured after a high speed pursuit in that stolen vehicle that ended when he crashed into a power pole.

Even thought Maldonado was a juvenile at the time of his crimes, the DA prosecuted him as an adult.

He ultimately pleaded guilty to several charges including several counts of carjacking and robbery with gang enhancements.

Monday Maldonado, who prosecutors say is a member of the Colonia Chiques Gang, was sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison.

His defense attorney says he'll be eligible for parole in 20 years.

Woman Accused Of DUI Hit & Run With Son In Car

KVTA News Monday July 25, 2016


Oxnard police say they arrested a woman after she was allegedly involved in a hit and run injury traffic collision while under the influence of alcohol and with her child in the vehicle.

They say the incident happened around 8:22 PM Sunday on Danvers River Street at Seaglass Way in Oxnard.

Police say they responded to a hit and run traffic collision that left a 23-year-old female Santa Paula resident with minor injuries.

They found the suspect vehicle in the 2500 block of Detroit Avenue.

Police say based on witness information they identified the driver of the hit and run vehicle as 23-year-old Christina Sotelo of Port Hueneme.

They say Sotelo was arrested for felony hit and run, DUI and for child endangerment since her five-year-old son was in her vehicle at the time of the incident.

He was not injured.

Sand Fire Grows To 33,172 Acres

KVTA News Sunday July 24, 2016

(Top photo courtesy Angeles National Forest, USFS)

(Bottom photo courtesy LA County Fire Department Air Ops)

UPDATED---Fire officials say an unanticipated shift in the wind Sunday exploded the Sand Fire, moving it out of the Angeles National Forest in a northwesterly direction back towards the 14 Freeway and hundreds of additional homes.

The fire has grown to 33,172 acres and is still only 10% contained.

Fire officials say Canyon Country up to Acton is now under the gun.

The 14 Freeway between I-5 in the San Fernando Valley and Avenue N in Palmdale was closed for several hours in both directions but has since reopened.

The fire, that broke out Friday afternoon, has destroyed 18 structures and might be responsible for at least one death.

The LA County Sheriff's Department says a man's body was found Saturday in a home along Iron Canyon Road just off of Sand Canyon Road where the fire started in Santa Clarita.

The wind shift is putting all of the smoke and ash over the Antelope Valley as the flames move in that direction.

All evacuations orders remain in place and new evacuation orders were issued with the wind shift Sunday.

Almost 3000 personnel are assigned to the fire including units from Ventura County, LA County and the USFS.

Ventura County Heat Wave Peaked Saturday

KVTA News Sunday July 24, 2016

(Photo by Alex Wilson, KVTA News)

The heat wave that brought 100-plus temperatures to Ventura County's valleys peaked Saturday with relatively cooler weather expected through the rest of the week.

According to the National Weather Service Office in Oxnard, the hot spot in Ventura County Saturday was Ojai at 107.

They say Fillmore was second at 105 with Thousand Oaks at 102 and Simi Valley at 101.

Santa Paula and Moorpark were also above 100.

On Saturday Ventura, Oxnard and Camarillo were in the upper 80's to low 90's.

Sunday temperatures dropped to the upper 90's in the valleys and the upper 70's and low 80's in the coastal and inland coastal areas like Ventura, Oxnard and Camarillo.

We can expect those high temperatures to drop another five degrees across the board for the rest of the work week.

Ventura Bar Security Guard Beaten Up By Two Men

KVTA News Sunday July 24, 2016

Ventura police say they arrested two men for allegedly attacking a security guard at a local bar.

They say the incident happened outside the El Rey Cantina at 294 E. Main Street around 5 PM Sunday.

Police say that the security guard, a 24-year-old Ventura man, was trying to keep an intoxicated subject from entering the bar.

They say the man's friends, who were in the bar already, came out and saw him being detained by the security guard so they allegedly started attacking the security guard.

Police were called and took two men into custody for felony battery.

They were identified as 29-year-old Brandon Gutierrez and 26-year-old Eriberto Alvarez, both of Ventura.

The security guard was taken to the hospital for treatment of several facial fractures suffered in the altercation.

Ventura County Transient Arrested For Sexually Assaulting Two Santa Barbara Girls As They Slept

KVTA News Sunday July 24, 2016


Santa Barbara police say they've arrested a transient with ties to Ventura County for allegedly sexually assaulting two Santa Barbara girls while they slept.

They say that around 4 AM Saturday morning, a man entered a house on the Santa Barbara waterfront through an unlocked door, went to the bedroom where two girls under the age of 14 were sleeping, and sexually assaulted them.

Police say the noise made by the girls woke up their father and he confronted the suspect and threw him out of the residence.

It was only after the suspect was gone that the father checked with his daughters and realized they had been sexually assaulted and that's when he called police.

Officers searched the area but did not find the suspect, but they did find a security camera at a nearby business that contained pictures of the suspect.

Police put the photos out on social media and received calls from people who said the same man was seen in the area of State and Carrillo streets.

Police staked out the area and caught the suspect, identified as 39-year-old Matthew Robert Torres, a transient with ties to Ventura County.

He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on two counts of sexual assault and burglary.

Child Playing With Lighter Starts Ventura Fire

KVTA News Saturday July 23, 2016

(Photo courtesy Ventura City Fire)

Ventura City firefighters say a six-year-old boy playing with a lighter by the side of his home caught a trash pile on fire and the flames spread to the fence.

It was reported at 12:46 PM Saturday in the 1000 block of Olive Avenue in west Ventura.

Firefighters say the flames engulfed the fence and spread to the adjacent structure.

They say the main body of the fire was on the side of a five unit complex that was next to a single family home.

Firefighters from the city and county responded and had the fire knocked down in four minutes.

Fortunately the occupants of al the units evacuated safely and there were no injuries.

The roof and attic of the building were inspected with a thermal imagining camera and it was determined that the fire was fully extinguished and did not spread into the interior of the structure.

Damage estimates were placed at $5,000.

No residents were displaced by the fire. 

Firefighters talked with the boy about the hazards of playing with lighters and matches and they believe he got the message and were confident it would not happen again.

Man Injured Stopping Ventura Carjacking

KVTA News Saturday July 23, 2016

Ventura police were looking for suspects in an attempted carjacking and assault in a local park.

They say the victim, a 46-year-old Somis man, was in the restroom at Marion Canon Park in the 1400 block of Saratoga Avenue around 8 PM Saturday when he heard someone trying to start his pickup truck.

He confronted the suspects, two males and a female, who were inside his truck.

There was a fight and police say during that fight the victim was struck in the back with a skateboard and stabbed in the leg with an unknown type weapon.

The suspects then fled on foot.

OPD Arrests 2 After Pursuit Of Stolen Vehicle

KVTA News Saturday July 23, 2016

Oxnard police say they made two arrests following a pursuit involving a stolen vehicle.
They say that Saturday morning they received a call from an Oxnard resident who told police that he had located his vehicle that had been stolen shortly before 7 AM from in front of his home.
Officers responded to the 4100 block of Maulhardt Road where they spotted the vehicle by driven with two people inside.
When they attempted to stop the vehicle, the suspect driver sped off and a pursuit began in the area of Pleasant Valley Road and Rice Avenue.
It traveled out of the city and into the unincorporated areas nearby including Nauman Road and Dufau Road and then westbound Hueneme Road.
Speeds reached 100 mph at times with the suspect vehicle running at least one red light.
At one point, police briefly discontinued the pursuit but were able to keep an eye on the suspect vehicle as it reentered the city of Oxnard.
They resumed the chase until the suspect crashed the stolen vehicle into a parked vehicle near Chester and Courtland in Oxnard.
Police say the suspects tried to flee on foot but were caught.
They say the driver, 19-year-old Jaime Mora of Oxnard, was arrested for auto theft, reckless driving and resisting arrest.
His passenger, 18-year-old Christian Barajas, was arrested for possession of stolen property.

Oxnard police say they made two arrests following a pursuit involving a stolen vehicle.

They say that Saturday morning they received a call from an Oxnard resident who told police that he had located his vehicle that had been stolen shortly before 7 AM from in front of his home.

Officers responded to the 4100 block of Maulhardt Road where they spotted the vehicle by driven with two people inside.

When they attempted to stop the vehicle, the suspect driver sped off and a pursuit began in the area of Pleasant Valley Road and Rice Avenue.

It traveled out of the city and into the unincorporated areas nearby including Nauman Road and Dufau Road and then westbound Hueneme Road.

Speeds reached 100 mph at times with the suspect vehicle running at least one red light.

At one point, police briefly discontinued the pursuit but were able to keep an eye on the suspect vehicle as it reentered the city of Oxnard.

They resumed the chase until the suspect crashed the stolen vehicle into a parked vehicle near Chester and Courtland in Oxnard.

Police say the suspects tried to flee on foot but were caught.

They say the driver, 19-year-old Jaime Mora of Oxnard, was arrested for auto theft, reckless driving and resisting arrest.

His passenger, 18-year-old Christian Barajas, was arrested for possession of stolen property.

Suspect In Fatal Ventura Hit & Run Crash Facing Murder Charge

KVTA News Friday July 22, 2016

UPDATED--Ventura police say they've arrested a Santa Paula man on murder and other charges in connection with a fatal crash on Kimball Road at the 126 in east Ventura Friday afternoon.

They say around 2:20 PM two Ventura police detectives were driving westbound on the 126 in an unmarked police car when a reckless vehicle collided with them.

Police say after the collision the suspect vehicle fled westbound on the 126 at a high rate of speed.

They say a patrol officer spotted the vehicle passing Wells Road on the 126 and drove onto the freeway and caught up with the suspect vehicle near Kimball Road.

Police say the suspect vehicle got off at Kimball and the patrol officer activated his lights in an attempt to stop the suspect vehicle.

They say the suspect vehicle increased its speed, ran the red light at the Kimball off ramp and collided with two vehicles that were traveling southbound on Kimball on a green light.

One of the vehicles was a motorcycle and its rider was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office identified the motorcyclist as 80-year-old Richard Lunsford of Ventura.

The people in the other vehicle, and a third vehicle that was involved, were not injured.

Meanwhile, police say the suspect continued southbound on Kimball and then jumped out of his still-moving vehicle and fled on foot.

At that point the patrol officer made the decision to stop the suspect vehicle with his patrol car before chasing the suspect on foot.

During the foot pursuit, police say the suspect dropped a loaded gun onto the street.

The suspect ran east of Kimball and the officer lost sight of him before he flagged down an unsuspecting motorist and told him he was injured in a fall and asked him for a ride.

The driver gave the suspect a ride but police spotted the vehicle on Telegraph Road west of Saticoy Avenue where they pulled it over and took the suspect into custody.

He has been identified as 24-year-old Victor Martinez of Santa Paula.

Police say they arrested Martinez for second degree murder, evading an officer causing death, felony hit and run and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Chlorine Spill At Simi Gym Sends 7 To Hospital

KVTA News Friday July 22, 2016

(Photo by Shawn Phillip Smith)

UPDATED--Ten people were exposed to a chlorine spill in a Simi Valley gym Friday morning sending seven of them to the hospital.

It was reported around 10:20 AM at the Gold's Gym in the 1300 block of E. Los Angeles Avenue.

Ventura County Fire officials say a malfunction in some equipment caused an excessive amount of liquid chlorine to be released into the gym's pool.

That created a chlorine cloud that sickened seven people enough to send them to the hospital.

Three others were assessed and treated at the scene.

The building was evacuated and the hazard was controlled and was in the process of being cleaned up by hazardous materials crews.

Ventura County Jobless Rate Shoots Up In June

KVTA News Friday July 22, 216

The unemployment rate in Ventura County rose by almost a full point from May to June to stand at 5.4 percent.

It was just slightly below what it was in June of last year when it stood at 5.5 percent.

It's below the statewide average but higher than the national average of 5.1 percent.

Most of the jobs that were lost from May to June were in agriculture while there was a gain of 1200 jobs in the non farm sectors.

However, Construction lost 100 jobs.

Trade, Transportation and Utilities lost 300 jobs and the Finance Services sector lost 100.

Manufacturing gained 100 jobs from May to June while Professional and Business Services gained 700, as did Leisure and Hospitality.

Education and Health Services gained 100 jobs.

From June of last year until June of this year, the county gained 4,000 jobs, all in the non farm sectors.