A Santa Barbara judge sentenced a former Oxnard resident to 145-years-to-life in prison for sexually abusing two young girls, one over a five year period in Oxnard. Prosecutors say that between 2000 and 2005, 41-year-old Jose Prestegui sexually abused a girl beginning when she was four years old. Prestegui and the victim both lived in Oxnard at the time. Prosecutors say at the time the girl's mother convinced her to recant her allegations, so Ventura County prosecutors could not bring a case against him. Then, in 2012, Prestegui was charged with sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl while he lived in Santa Barbara. When prosecutors in Santa Barbara brought the case against him there, the Oxnard victim, now 16 years old, came forward and was willing to testify against Prestegui about her sexual abuse. He was tried and convicted in Santa Barbara not only for the 2012 case there but also for the original case in Oxnard.
Ventura police say they've arrested a wanted felon after they watched him burglarize a vehicle near the San Buenaventura State Beach. Because of a recent rash of vehicle burglaries in the city, detectives with VPD's Street Crimes Unit were staking out locations where such crimes have happened in the past. They say that around 2:43 PM Wednesday afternoon detectives, who were in an unmarked vehicle, watched an individual get out of a vehicle in the parking lot in the 500 block of Sanjon Road near Harbor Boulevard. They say he walked to another vehicle, smashed the window, reached inside, and took property. The suspect then got back into his car and drove away. The detectives followed and called in a patrol car to make a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle. Police say that in the suspect's vehicle they found the property taken from the vehicle on Sanjon Road, plus, additional property taken in an earlier unreported vehicle burglary in the 100 block of W. Main Street. All of the property was returned to the owners. The suspect was arrested and jailed on two counts of vehicle burglary. Police also say that the suspect, 35-year-old Jeffrey Rowley, has a felony warrant for violation of his Post Release Offender status and a second warrant for misdemeanor hit and run. He's also being held on those warrants.
An electrical problem caused a fire in a third floor apartment in Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard Wednesday morning. Firefighters responded to the 3400 block of Peninsula Road around 8 AM and found smoke and flames coming from the top floor unit. They were able to knock the fire down in a few minutes but not before it had done extensive damage to one unit. An adjacent unit suffered smoke damage, and two units below suffered water damage from the firefighting efforts. Tenants in all four units were displaced by the fire. One person was treated for smoke inhalation. Damage estimates were put at $120,000.
(Photo by Dominick Ayala)
An elderly Oxnard man died following a crash Tuesday evening. Police say that 78-year-old Joe Cotten was driving westbound on Gonzales Road approaching Oxnard Boulevard around 5:25 PM Tuesday when it's suspected he suffered a disabling medical condition. His vehicle then rear ended another vehicle. Cotten was rushed to Saint John's Medical Center where he later died. The driver of the other vehicle was not hurt. Two passengers in her vehicle did suffer minor injuries. Police say the crash itself was not serious. The Medical Examiner determine that Cotten died from natural causes. (Photo by Dominick Ayala)
(Photo courtesy Ventura County Fire Department)
UPDATE AT 1:15 PM--The "Happy Camp" vegetation fire near Moorpark is 70% contained at 44 acres and full containment is expected tomorrow at 6 PM. They have two patrol units on the fire lines tonight to make sure there are no flare ups. The fire broke out around 2 AM Tuesday morning in a area west of Moorpark College along Happy Camp Canyon Road and Middle Ranch Road. At its height, 75 firefighters including engine companies, hand crews, bull dozers, and sheriff's helicopters were assigned to the fire. Despite gusty winds that ranged up to 60 miles per hour at times, crews started to get the upper hand on the fire by dawn. No structures were damaged. There were downed power lines found when the first firefighters arrived on scene, but the cause of the fire was under investigation. No reports of injuries.
Two boats were damaged or destroyed by fire in Ventura Harbor early Tuesday morning. Ventura City firefighters responded to a report of a boat on fire in the Ventura Isle Marina 1363 Spinnaker shortly after midnight. When they arrived on scene they found a 30 foot cabin cruiser fully involved in fire with a boat next to it also on fire. Firefighters on the dock and the Ventura Harbor Patrol from a fireboat battled the fires while other firefighters moved other nearby boats away from the fire. The fire was contained to two boats, no other boats were damaged. A firefighter suffered a minor injury. Cause of the fire was an electrical accident. Damage estimates were placed at more than $200,000.
Ventura police have made an arrest in connection with the death of a homeless man over the weekend. The body of the victim was found Sunday morning behind what will be the new WalMart in the 1700 block of Victoria Avenue. The 49-year-old male victim, whose name has not been released yet, died from blunt force trauma. He was beaten to death. Sunday evening, detectives with the Ventura PD's major crimes unit, arrested another homeless man, 29-year-old Brent Nash, in connection with the killing. They say Nash and the victim had known each other for a couple of days. Police say they don't have a motive for the killing.
Trial has begun for an Oxnard man accused of multiple counts of child molestation. 30-year-old Gustavo Canizalez is charged with multiple counts of lewd acts upon a child with special allegations regarding multiple victims and continuous sexual abuse. Canizalez was arrested in October of 2012. At the time of his arrest, Oxnard police said that Canizalez worked as the office manager for Harrington Elementary School in Oxnard but the alleged crimes had no connection to his work at that school or any other school in the Oxnard School District. A jury has been selected to hear the case. Canizalez remains in jail on $1 million bail.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Department says an arrest has been made in connection with a series of vehicle burglaries at the Matilija Canyon Trailhead parking lot. The investigation began after several vehicles were broken into on the weekend of November 2, 2013. Windows were smashed and property inside the vehicles was taken, things like purses and personal electronics. Deputies launched an extensive investigation and identified a suspect. 21-year-old Luis Santillan of Oak View was arrested Friday and booked into the Ventura County Jail for burglary. Bail was set at $10,000 and he has since bailed out. Deputies say Santillan is suspected in numerous vehicle burglaries in Matilija Canyon at both the trailhead and Hot Springs.
The Ventura City Council will be asked at their meeting Monday night to approve and fund an environmental study into proposed changes in the city's noise ordinance. Right now the ordinance establishes noise limits based on the amount of noise measured at the location where the noise complaint is generated. The proposal is to set the standards based on levels measured at the source of the noise. City staff says this is the way it's done at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Libbey Bowl in Ojai, and the Hollywood Bowl. They say it would eliminate ambiguity when measuring noise levels at various receiving sites. They say it would make it easier for concert and other event promoters to monitor and control noise levels. The issue came up when the council considered the summer concert series planned for the city hall upper parking lot. Staff says changing the noise ordinance would "reduce the risks associated with potential noise complaints" during future summer concert series. The council will consider approval of the EIR study at their meeting Monday night at 6 PM at 501 Poli Street in Ventura.
Caltrans says there will be overnight lane closures on the 101 through the Mussel Shoals and La Conchita areas starting tonight and for the whole work week. The lane closures are part of the ongoing carpool lane project. Tonight (Sunday) starting at 9 PM one lane in each direction will be closed until around 6 AM Monday morning, maybe later on the southbound side. Then, Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, and Thursday night, one northbound lane will be closed from 7 PM until 6 AM the next morning. Southbound on those nights, the lane closure will be from 8 PM to as late as 9 AM the next morning, although they'll try to get it reopened earlier than that. The closures are needed so they can "shift" traffic lanes along the six mile stretch of the project. The "shift" will involve moving traffic into the center median (where the newly paved carpool lanes will be) so they can work on the outside lanes. The "shift" is expected to be completed by December 16th. The whole $102 million project between Mussel Shoals and Carpinteria is expected to be completed in early 2015.
A Ventura City Councilman wants to set up a special committee to review the city charter and propose any changes they think would be appropriate. Councilman Carl Morehouse will ask the council Monday night to direct city staff to come back with a plan to set up a Charter Review Committee made up of citizens who will look at any possible changes in the charter which was last reviewed and revised in 1986. Morehouse points out several changes that have been proposed by members of the community. They include holding city elections in even-numbered years along with every other city in the county. Even-numbered years are when voters select the Governor and President and more people vote in even-numbered year elections. Also consolidating the city election into those even-numbered year general elections would save the city money on election costs. Morehouse says there have also been suggestions that the citizens should elect the Mayor directly rather than have council members select the Mayor from their ranks. Oxnard, Simi Valley, and Moorpark currently elect their mayors directly. He says it's also been suggested by some that council members represent specific districts rather than be elected at large, as is currently done. He goes on to outline other proposals that have been made regarding changes in the city charter that could be explored by this committee.
Ventura police are investigating what they are calling a suspicious death. Officers responded to a report of a battery victim to the rear of 1795 S. Victoria Avenue shortly after 9 AM Sunday morning. Police and fire personnel arrived at the location and found the individual who was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say because of the suspicious nature of the death their detectives responded to assist. Police are calling the deceased individual a vagrant. The name of the individual has not been released pending notification of relatives. The cause of death has not been determined pending an autopsy. The Ventura County Coroner's Office is involved in the investigation along with police and they are not releasing any information at this time. Anyone with information is asked to call Ventura PD at (805) 339-4441.
The storm that moved through Ventura County Saturday brought a couple of inches of snow to the mountains and between a tenth and a half inch of rain. It forced closure of Interstate Five through the Grapevine for three hours Saturday morning. Highway 33 through the Los Padres National Forest was also closed for several hours due to snow but reopened with chains required. The rain caused some vehicle crashes, but there were no major incidents related to the storm. Saturday night and Sunday should be clear and dry but continued cold.
Rainfall amounts through 4 PM Saturday from the Ventura County Watershed Protection District…
VENTURA COUNTY COASTAL
CAMARILLO (KCMA).................. 0.22
CSU CHANNEL ISLANDS............... 0.12
OXNARD - NWS...................... 0.26
OXNARD CIVIC CENTER............... 0.20
SILVERSTRAND BEACH................ 0.11
LA CONCHITA....................... 0.23
VENTURA COUNTY WESTERN VALLEYS
STATION CANYON.................... 0.36
MATILIJA DAM...................... 0.22
STEWART CANYON.................... 0.33
LAKE CASITAS...................... 0.38
FAGAN CANYON...................... 0.24
SOUTH MOUNTAIN.................... 0.27
RED MOUNTAIN...................... 0.59
VENTURA COUNTY EASTERN VALLEYS
LAKE PIRU......................... 0.16
THOUSAND OAKS..................... 0.09
SYCAMORE CANYON DAM............... 0.16
ROCKY PEAK........................ 0.24
SIMI VALLEY....................... 0.30
CIRCLE X RANCH.................... 0.16
VENTURA COUNTY MOUNTAINS
APACHE CANYON..................... 0.12
LOCKWOOD VALLEY................... 0.11
WHITE LEDGE PEAK.................. 0.39
NORDHOFF RIDGE.................... 0.19
ORTEGA HILL....................... 0.08
ROSE VALLEY....................... 0.20
OLD MAN MOUNTAIN.................. 0.20
ALAMO MOUNTAIN.................... 0.03
Oxnard police are investigating a shooting incident. It was reported shortly before noon in the 1800 block of Napoleon. It appears that a passenger in a red sedan, possibly a Ford, got out and fired several rounds that struck a house and another vehicle. There were people working in front of the home, but no one was injured. The passenger got back into the suspect vehicle and it fled the area according to witnesses. Police are investigating and looking for the suspect vehicle.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office has released the name of the man who was killed in a crash off Highway 118 in Simi Valley Friday morning. 26-year-old Kyle Webb of Simi Valley was pronounced dead at the scene. The CHP's preliminary investigation indicates that Webb was traveling at 90 miles per hour on the westbound 118 shortly after 7 AM Friday morning when he drifted off the right shoulder of the freeway at the Kuehner Drive off ramp and crashed, the vehicle traveling over the off ramp and coming to rest on its top off the side of the off ramp. Ventura County firefighters conducted a heavy rescue operation to rescue Webb from the wreckage, but it turned into a recovery operation when they determined that he had died. No other vehicles were involved in the incident which shut down the Kuehner off ramp from WB 118 for several hours Friday morning.