Ventura police say that following an autopsy Wednesday on a man whose body was found in a vacant lot on Transport Street Tuesday afternoon "there were no indications that the victim's death was due to foul play."
However, the autopsy did not reveal exactly how the man died and it will take further lab tests to reach a determination about that.
The 45-year-old Ventura man was found dead in that vacant lot by a passerby Tuesday around 3 PM in the 4200 block of Transport.
Police said at the time, there were no outwards signs to indicated cause of death and no evidence at the scene to indicate what happened.
The man's name has not been released yet.
The judge presiding over the trial of the Oxnard woman charged with murdering her Olympic-medalist husband indicated Wednesday she is fighting a defense request to remove her from the case.
57-year-old Jane Laut is accused in the fatal shooting of her husband, Dave Laut, in August of 2009 at their Oxnard home.
The defense claims she was a battered wife who shot her husband in self defense, while prosecutors claim it was murder.
The defense wants to recuse Judge Nancy Ayers from presiding over Laut's trial because of remarks the defense says Ayers made in another case regarding battered women that suggest she would be biased against a battered woman's syndrome defense.
Because Judge Ayers is contesting her recusal from the case, a judge will be appointed from outside Ventura County to decide the issue of whether she should stay or be replaced for the Laut trial.
The issue is expected to delay the start of the trial for at least several weeks if not longer.
Meanwhile, in detailing their motion to remove Judge Ayers from the case, the defense revealed in court documents that prosecutors had offered a plea bargain that would have had Laut pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter with a six year prison term.
The defense said Laut turned down the deal.
(Photo courtesy Captain Mike Lindbery, Ventura County Fire)
A major injury traffic collision shut down Highway 118 west of Moorpark for about two hours Wednesday.
The head on collision between two cars happened shortly after 11:30 AM Wednesday on the 118 at Balcom Canyon Road.
The drivers of both vehicles were trapped and had to be extricated by Ventura County firefighters.
One driver was reported in critical condition, the other with minor injuries.
The CHP shut the road down in both directions.
It was reopened at 1:50 PM.
They are investigating the crash.
Ventura police say a driver was arrested for felony DUI and hit and run following two crashes in Ventura Tuesday night.
They say the first crash happened shortly before 11PM on eastbound Main Street near Mills Road when the suspect rear ended another vehicle and then fled the area with the victim driver trying to follow him.
The victim driver gave up the chase because of his injuries and police searched the area around Main and Telephone Road, but did not find the suspect.
Less than a half hour later, the CHP reported stopping a vehicle for DUI on Johnson Drive and Crescent Street that was missing a front tire.
It was determined that vehicle was the same one involved in the earlier crash on Main Street and that it had been involved in a second hit and run crash on Auto Center Drive.
The driver of the suspect vehicle, 19-year-old Kieran Brown of Ventura, was taken into custody and booked into the Ventura County Jail for felony DUI, felony hit and run and misdemeanor hit and run.
The victims in the first crash were taken to the hospital with moderate non life threatening injuries.
(Photo courtesy SPARC)
Buddha, a gentle 10-year-old pit bull found lying by the side of the road by a Santa Paula police officer, has faced a life of challenges.
He is unable to use his hind legs due to a degenerative myelopathy/neuropathy that could get worse.
The officer took Buddha to the Santa Paula Animal Rescue
Center (SPARC) and they took him to a pet emergency hospital where his condition was diagnosed.
It appears that the dog was either dumped where the officer found him, or he dragged himself to that location, since his legs were scraped raw.
Buddha recovered from his scrapes and bruises but he still needed help because of the condition which has paralyzed his hind legs.
That's where a Massachusetts company, Eddie's Wheels, stepped in with a donated $600 custom-made cart for dogs who cannot use their hind legs.
Staff members at SPARC have given Buddha a lot of time and treats to get him used to his new wheels and they say he's becoming more confident and enjoys going out for a spin several times a day.
But Buddha will be leaving SPARC for a rescue sanctuary that provides more specialized care as he continues his recovery.
Ultimately they hope Buddha will find a loving home.
For more information go to SPARC at www.santapaulaarc.org
(Photo courtesy Caltrans)
Caltrans Tuesday said that the 9 mile stretch of Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura County that was shut down in December due to storm damaged will remain closed until March 2nd.
Caltrans had indicated February 2nd as a target date for reopening the stretch trom Las Posas Road, but they now say it'll be another month.
Here's the news release from Caltrans...
Ventura police and the Ventura County Medical Examiner are investigating the death of a man whose body was found in a vacant lot in the city's industrial park.
The discovery was made around 3 PM Tuesday afternoon in the 4200 block of Transport Street.
Police say the 45-year-old white male from Ventura was found among overgrown weeds in the empty lot.
They say there was no outward or obvious indication as to how the man died or any other indication as to what might have happened.
Major Crimes and the coroner are investigating.
The man's name is not being released at this time.
Anyone with information that might help in the investigation is being asked to call VPD at (805) 339-4467 and ask for Detective Sutherland.
Deputies are looking for the suspect in three recent self-serve laundry burglaries, two in the Ojai Valley, one in Camarillo.
The Ojai Valley burglaries took place in the early morning hours of December 1, 2014 at Mira Monte Quick Clean and Coin House Laundry.
While investigating those burglaries, detectives learned that Camarillo had a similar burglary at a self serve laundry on November 5, 2014.
The suspect in the security video in Camarillo appears to be the same person as the suspect in the Ojai break-ins.
They say that after breaking into the businesses, he pried open the coin boxes on several washing machines and stole the money inside.
Anyone who can help identify the suspect in the photos is asked to call Detective Mulrooney at (805) 646-1414.
Traffic officers from the Oxnard Police Department Monday conducted a courthouse sting operation of people under court orders not to drive.
The officers were in court between 8 AM and 11 AM when drivers with prior DUI arrests were told by the judge that their driving privilege had been suspended.
The officers then followed six individuals to the parking lot where two of the individuals got into vehicles as passengers and were driven away and one got on a bus.
But police say the three others got into their vehicles and drove away form the courthouse.
The officers stopped those three and arrested them on misdemeanor charges of driving on a suspended license.
Other law enforcement agencies in the county have conducted the same kind of sting in the past and they say there will be more in the future.
Simi Valley police say they've arrested a transient Monday after he allegedly carjacked a Gas Company truck and then crashed it during a pursuit with police.
They say the incident started in the area of Deodora Street and School Street when the suspect, 22-year-old Anthony Ramirez of Simi Valley is alleged to have threatened a Gas Company employee with bodily harm unless he gave him the utility truck.
The employee complied with the demand and Ramirez took off in the vehicle.
The victim called police and an officer spotted the stolen vehicle and tried to pull it over, but there was a pursuit which ended when the truck crashed into a fence at the north end of King Palm Drive in a neighborhood south of the Arroyo Simi wash and west of Sequoia Avenue.
Police say Ramirez got out and ran into the open space area along the arroyo and then into a neighborhood off of Corto Street at Royal Avenue.
A resident then called police to say there was a man hiding in her yard on Forest Avenue and officers responded, found Ramirez and took him into custody without further incident.
Police say Ramirez was arrested for carjacking, felony evading, reckless driving and auto theft.
Ventura police say that an adult female called 911 around 3:40 PM Sunday afternoon to report that while she was jogging on the Botanical Garden trails in Grant Park near Brakey Road she ran past a male seated next to the path.
She told officers that as she passed the male he reached out and slapped her on the buttocks.
The woman told police she quickly turned and confronted the suspect and he grabbed her wrists and wouldn't let go until she tried to kick him and then he ran off towards the Cross area.
As officers talked to the woman, she told them that three months ago the same male had followed her while she was jogging in the same area making vulgar comments about her until she yelled at him and he ran off.
She never reported that incident to police.
The woman also told officers that the same male had been in the park three weeks ago but she managed to avoid him.
The woman described the suspect as an adult Hispanic male, 18-19 years old, 6 foot and 160 pounds.
Police say the suspect had black hair in a short buzz cut and was clean shaven and wearing rectangular reading glasses.
He was wearing a light blue shirt and black basketball shorts.
Anyone with information is asked to call VPD at (805) 339-4309.
The gusty northeast and east winds that ripped through Ventura County Saturday are expected to diminish Sunday afternoon.
On Saturday, the winds created problems and damage from one end of the county to the other.
The main problem seemed to be toppled trees and downed utility lines.
In Oxnard, a large tree came down in the 700 block of Oxnard Boulevard forcing closure of Oxnard Boulevard north of Five Points for several hours.
The tree crashed down into Magic Auto Sales causing $25,000 in damage according to the Oxnard Police Department.
Fortunately, the four employees and two customers in the business at the same were not hurt.
It was just one of dozens of wind-blown, fallen trees that came down.
Meanwhile, about 500 residents near Buena High in Ventura were without power for more than 12 hours because of wind blown power lines Saturday afternoon and Saturday night.
There were several incidents of power and other utility lines being ripped down by the winds.
In west Ventura, the wind tore off a metal carport structure and tossed it onto the roof of the building in the 600 block of Ventura Avenue.
Here's what the NWS Service says about the Sunday forecast...
"Gusty north to northeast winds will continue across portions of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties through this afternoon.
The strongest winds will occur across the mountains of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties with gusts to 55 mph and locally to 65 mph.
Potential impacts include elevated fire weather conditions, downed power lines and trees, gusty strong cross winds, power outages, and blowing dust and debris on area roadways.
Potential actions include securing outdoor furniture and plants, removing loose tree branches, and preparing for gusty cross winds and for blowing dust and debris on area roadways."
Here are some recorded wind gusts from the NWS...
...SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA...
MALIBU HILLS (1575 FT) 82 MPH 0156 PM 01/24
TOPANGA (1600 FT) 58 MPH 1157 AM 01/24
...VENTURA COUNTY COAST...
CAMARILLO APT. (77 FT) 51 MPH 1220 PM 01/24
OXNARD APT. (66 FT) 47 MPH 0823 AM 01/24
POINT MUGU NAS (13 FT) 46 MPH 0225 PM 01/24
2 W VENTURA (32 FT) 44 MPH 1245 PM 01/24
OXNARD (5 NE) (130 FT) 36 MPH 0200 PM 01/24
...VENTURA COUNTY COASTAL VALLEYS...
CHEESEBORO (1707 FT) 66 MPH 0938 AM 01/24
WILEY RIDGE (1645 FT) 57 MPH 0849 AM 01/24
AGOURA HILLS (2 N) (1201 FT) 42 MPH 0834 AM 01/24
(Photo of end of pursuit in Oxnard courtesy Erica Kennedy)
Updated--A high speed pursuit that began in the city of Los Angeles early Sunday morning with a felony hit and run in a stolen vehicle traveled all the way into Ventura County to the city of Ventura and then into Oxnard where it ended with the arrest of the driver and a passenger.
As the chase involving the LADP wound its way north into Ventura County, the CHP chased the suspect vehicle northbound on the 101 into downtown Ventura where the suspects got off the freeway at California Street and then went southbound on Harbor Boulevard through Ventura into Oxnard.
During that time the suspects ran red lights and traveled at high speeds with the CHP, Ventura PD and an LAPD helicopter involved.
At one point the CHP reportedly used a spike strip to flatten the tires on the suspect vehicle in the area of the 101 and 126 in Ventura.
The pursuit continued down Harbor Boulevard through Oxnard and then eastbound on Channel Islands Boulevard past Savers Road with Oxnard PD involved.
The chase continued on several residential streets east of Saviers Road before the suspects stopped and jumped out of the vehicle in the area of Cloyne and Channel Islands Boulevard.
There was a brief foot pursuit before the two people who were in the vehicle were captured around 2:20 AM Sunday morning with the help of a police K-9.
Taken into custody were two Santa Barbara residents, the driver 20-year-old Carlos Orozco and the passenger, 27-year-old Hector Vergara Flores.
The vehicle involved was a 2013 Chevy Silverado that had been stolen out of Santa Barbara.
The agencies involved in the pursuit included LAPD, the CHP, Ventura PD and Oxnard PD.
(Above photo courtesy Ventura City Fire)
Updated--Gusty northeast and east winds are rolling through Ventura County, toppling trees, ripping utility lines down and tossing around anything that isn't tied down.
The CHP issued a wind advisory for pretty much the entire county as they chased tumbling tumbleweed across freeways and highways.
Winds gusts ranging between 40-70 miles per hour have raced across the county.
As the sun rose Saturday morning, the hardest hit area was the Conejo Valley where wind speeds reached above 60 miles per hour.
Fire crews were kept busy handling a number of calls involving downed trees or utility lines, but as the day progressed, those problems started cropping up across the entire county.
In Ventura, in the 600 block of Ventura Avenue shortly before 1 PM, a metal carport was ripped off by the wind and flipped over onto the roof of a home (see top photo).
Firefighters made quick work of a small grass fire in Thousand Oaks around 8:20 AM on Roadrunner Avenue.
They contained it at less than an acre and had it under control in about an hour.
Here are some peak wind gusts between 4:30 AM and 11 AM Saturday...
OXNARD.................................EAST 47 MPH.
CAMARILLO..............................NORTHEAST 47 MPH.
POINT MUGU.............................NORTHEAST 41 MPH.
CHEESEBORO.............................NORTH 66 MPH.
WILEY RIDGE (North of Moorpark)................EAST 57 MPH.
BONEY MOUNTAIN (Between Newbury Park & PCH)........NORTHEAST 71 MPH.
Here's what the NWS has to say...
"Strong surface high pressure, over the Great Basin, will continue to bring strong and damaging Santa Ana winds to portions of Southern California through this evening.
The strongest north to northeast winds (gusts 60-75 MPH) will occur across the mountains of Ventura and Los Angeles counties as well as the Santa Clarita Valley.
Elsewhere across most of the coastal and valley areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, wind gusts between 40 and 55 MPH are expected.
Gusty northeast winds will also impact the coastal waters south of Ventura as well as Catalina Island (including Avalon Harbor).
The gusty offshore winds will continue late tonight and Sunday, but the winds are expected to be somewhat weaker.
Potential impacts from the gusty Santa Ana winds will include downed power lines/trees, strong cross winds, power outages, and blowing dust and debris on area roadways.
Additionally, elevated fire weather conditions will prevail through Sunday due to the gusty winds and low relative humidity."
Detectives from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department in Moorpark are being credited with uncovering an alleged home loan modification scam that targeted primarily Spanish speaking homeowners in Ventura County and throughout the rest of Southern California.
Five suspects, three men and two women, are accused by the authorities of stealing money from desperate homeowners by offering to help resolve their home loan problems for up front fees and then doing nothing to help the homeowners.
Those accused of the scam ran two businesses, Debt Settlers of America in Orange, and, Foreclosure Prevention Department in Irvine.
The Orange County DA filed 120 felony charges against the five suspects.
Three of the suspects are family members.
The investigation into the alleged scam began in Ventura County where deputies received complaints in October 2012 from homeowners who reported being victimized.
Ultimately the case was handed over to the Orange County DA for prosecution because the suspects and their businesses were based in Orange County.
Prosecutors alleged that almost two dozen homeowners, many in Ventura County and most Spanish speaking, were victimized.
The DA says the alleged scammers used radio advertising on Spanish language stations to attract clients.
It's alleged the companies raked in hundreds of thousand of dollars then did nothing to help the homeowners, who, in some cases, ended up losing their homes to foreclosure.
This all allegedly happened between 2009 and 2012.
Four of the suspects are in custody, one remains at large.
Deputies say they've arrested a man for attempted murder after he allegedly tried to strangle a woman with a cord in a Thousand Oaks motel.
Deputies say that Friday afternoon around 1 PM, deputies responded to a report of domestic violence at the Premier Inn at 2434 W. Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks.
When they arrived, they found a 43-year-old female transient who had been strangled into unconsciousness by a man.
They say the suspect, 38-year-old Hans Abraham Goodlein, a transient, had allegedly wrapped a cord around the woman's neck and almost strangled her to death.
The victim is expected to recover.
Deputies say Goodlein had fled before they arrived but they were able to track him to the Venice area of Los Angeles where he was arrested for attempted murder.
Goodlein was booked into the Ventura County Jail with bail set at $520,000.
An Oxnard man awaiting trial next week for second degree burglary was arrested Friday night following a brief vehicle and foot pursuit in Ventura.
The pursuit began shortly before 10 PM after a patrol officer stopped a vehicle at Seaward Avenue and Thompson Boulevard for a speeding violation.
Police say when the officer got out of his patrol car and started approaching the vehicle, the driver of the vehicle sped off.
That started about a one minute long vehicle pursuit that wound its way eastbound on several city streets, ending when the suspect stopped and jumped out of his vehicle in the area of Hartman Drive and Main Street.
There was a brief foot pursuit that ended when the suspect gained access to a business at Borchard Drive and Thompson Boulevard.
Police say when officers caught up to the suspect and tried to take him into custody, he resisted and there was a struggle and a Taser was used to finally subdue him.
They say that 23-year-old Fernando Suarez of Oxnard was finally taken into custody for felony resisting arrest.
He was taken to VCMC to be checked out and then booked into the Ventura County Jail.
According to court records, Suarez was scheduled to go on trial next week for misdemeanor second degree burglary.
He also had a prior conviction for misdemeanor petty theft and several prior infractions for driving without a license.
During the brief vehicle pursuit speeds reached 65 miles per hour and police say Suarez ran several stop signs and red lights along the way.
Ventura police say their DUI checkpoint Friday night and Saturday morning netted one DUI arrest.
The checkpoint was set up on eastbound Thompson Boulevard near California Street from 9 PM to 2:30 AM.
The person arrested for DUI has a blood alcohol level of .14 which is almost twice the legal limit.
Their vehicle was also towed and impounded.
Meanwhile, they arrested one other driver who was wanted on a misdemeanor warrant related to a prior DUI case.
One driver was cited for driving without a license.
One driver was cited for having marijuana in the vehicle and another for having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.