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KVTA Local News

Teen Cited For Starting Brush Fire Near Santa Paula

KVTA News Saturday April 18, 2015

(Top photo from VC Copter 6 shows spot fire that jumped containment line)

(Photos courtesy Ventura County Sheriff's Copter 6)

Update---The brush fire that burned a total of more than five-and-a-half acres at two locations in the Wheeler Canyon area near Santa Paula was human caused, started by a teenager who was cited by sheriff's deputies.

It was reported around 9:50 AM Saturday in the 7700 block of Wheeler Canyon Road, north of Foothill Road between Ventura and Santa Paula.

Responding firefighters could see smoke a mile away and when they arrived on scene they found a quarter acre of brush burning east to west upslope.

Initially, more than 85 personnel from county fire, the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura, Cal Fire, and the sheriff's department, responded to the incident.

Hand crews and engine companies worked on the ground while the sheriff's helicopters made water drops.

The fire was contained at almost four acres by noon, but it later jumped the containment line and burned another 1.7 acres before that was contained.

In addition to water dropping helicopters, fixed wing air tankers dropped fire retardant on that spot fire. 

Winds were relatively light Saturday which helped firefighters.

Explosion And Fire At East Ventura Apartment

KVTA News Saturday April 18, 2015

(Photo courtesy Ventura City Fire)

Ventura City firefighters responded to an apartment in the 6600 block of Telephone Road shortly after 5:30 AM Saturday morning to a report of an explosion and fire.

When they arrived they found one of the apartments with the front door and windows blown out and a dissipating light smoke inside the apartment.

It was clear that there had been an explosion and fire and that the occupant of the apartment had used a dry chemical extinguisher to put out the fire.

That person, who they think might have been injured in the explosion, had fled the scene before they arrived and they say is still unaccounted for. 

What caused the explosion is still under investigation.

Body Found On San Miguel Island Is Missing Boater

KVTA News Friday April 17, 2015

(Photos courtesy Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department)

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department say the body found on San Miguel Island last August has been identified as that of a missing boater last seen leaving Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard in May of 2014.

The skeletal remains of 63-year-old Richard Martin Smith of Sacramento were found by a Channel Islands National Park Ranger on the beach at San Miguel on August 4, 2014.

DNA submitted to the Department of Justice lead to the identification.

Smith and his traveling companion, 57-year-old Monique Krewedl were reported missing in June of last year after they left Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard and were reportedly going to sail to Northern California.

Both were from the Sacramento area.

They left the harbor in a recently purchased 34 foot dark blue and white sailboat, the XIAO XIANG.

Despite an extensive search by the Coast Guard at the time, Smith, Krewedl, and the boat, were never found.

Krewedl and the boat are still missing.

Santa Barbara County officials say given the state of the remains of Smith they were unable to establish a cause of death but an evaluation of the physical evidence that was available showed nothing that would indicate his death was the result of violence. 

The missing persons case filed with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is still open and they area asking anyone who might have information to call them at 1-916-874-5115.

VPD Arrests Man In Ventura Stabbing Attack

KVTA News Friday April 17, 2015

Ventura police say they arrested a man after they saw him stab another man at a westside church Friday morning.

It happened around 9:40 AM in the 600 block of North Ventura Avenue.

Police had received a call of a man disturbing at the Total Life Christian Church.

As patrol officers arrived at the scene, they witnessed the suspect charge at the victim and stab him multiple times.

The officers immediately intervened and took the suspect, 26-year-old Camron Johnson, into custody.

The victim, a 58-year-old Ventura man, was taken to VCMC to be treated for what police say were not life threatening injuries.

Johnson, who police described as a vagrant, was booked into the Ventura County Jail.

Man And His Dog Stabbed In Santa Paula

KVTA News Friday April 17, 2015

Santa Paula police are investigating an incident Thursday night in which a man and his dog were stabbed.

It happened around 8:22 PM in the parking lot of a church in the 500 block of W. Harvard Boulevard west of Steckel Drive near Teague Park.

Police received a call from someone who said they could hear a man screaming for help.

When officers arrived, they found the 40-year-old man and the dog, both suffering from stab wounds.

The victim told police he was approached by two suspects, words were exchanged, a fight ensued between the victim and one of the suspects which led to the stabbing.

Because it was dark, the victim was unable to provide a description of the suspects.

The man was taken to VCMC and was treated for two minor stab wounds to his chest and abdomen.

Both the man, and his dog, are expected to make full recoveries.

VPD Finds Missing Elderly Man

KVTA News Friday April 17, 2015

(Update-he was found safe around 7:20 AM)

Ventura police Friday morning spent three hours looking for a missing elderly man and they finally found him safe and sound.

They say that 80-year-old Milton Olson possibly suffers from dementia and was being called a critical missing adult.

His family called VPD around 4 AM Friday to report him missing and police searched an area south of the County Government Center.

The sheriff's helicopter joined the search around 7 AM and Olson was located about 20 minutes later and reunited with his family.

Serial Oxnard Robbery Suspect Surrenders After Standoff

KVTA News Thursday April 16, 2015

Updated--Oxnard police arrested a man suspected in several armed robberies but not until he barricaded himself in his house for three and a half hours.

Police say officers from their violent crimes unit were looking for 25-year-old Douglas Rayvon Lovings in connection with at least three armed robberies in Oxnard.

They learned he was at his home in the 400 block of N. G Street and around 10:30 AM Thursday they went there to serve a felony warrant for his arrest.

Police say when Lovings came to the front door and saw the officers he fled into the rear of the house and refused to come out.

Police set up a perimeter, closed G Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, called in the armored vehicle, brought in SWAT teams from Oxnard and Ventura, and a robot, all the while urging Lovings to come out and surrender.

He continued to ignore the requests to come out until shortly after 2 PM when he finally came out and surrendered without incident.

Police say they suspect him in at least three armed robberies and there may be more. 

He was arrested on the felony warrant and a host of other charges related to the Thursday incident and will be booked into the Ventura County Jail.

Massive Force Goes After Santa Paula Gang Members

KVTA News Thursday April 16, 2015

Santa Paula police say with the assistance of more than 130 law enforcement officers from several local, state, and federal agencies, they conducted probation and parole compliance checks on known documented gang members and their associates.

The raids were conducted around 7 AM Thursday morning all over the city and resulted in the arrests of eight adults and one juvenile.

Police say the juvenile was released to school officials, the adults were hauled off to jail for a variety of offenses that violated either their probation or parole.

Police say the Thursday morning operation is part of an ongoing effort to reduce or eliminate gang violence and other gang related crimes in the city.

Assembly OK's Bill To Require Drivers To Show Face

KVTA News Thursday April 16, 2015

The California Assembly has approved a bill by a state legislator who represents a portion of Ventura County that would require drivers to show their full face when they are pulled over by a law enforcement officer.

The bill, by Republican Assemblyman Scott Wilk, was approved by a vote of 76-1 and now goes to the State Senate for consideration.

Wilk, whose district includes Simi Valley, says the legislation was suggested by a Simi Valley police officer after a motorcyclist refused to take off his helmet after being pulled over for a traffic violation.

Wilk says the officer needs to be able to match the driver's license photo with the person operating the vehicle but a loophole in the law did not require the person to show the officer a full, unobstructed view of their face.

AB 346, called the Identity Confirmation Act, would close that loophole.

Wilk says it's a safety issue because the officer needs to be sure the person who is operating the vehicle is indeed the person whose license was presented to the officer.

Stolen Car Suspect Arrested In Ventura

KVTA News Thursday April 16, 2015

Ventura police say they arrested a man Wednesday night in connection with a stolen vehicle he was driving.

They say that around 10:30 PM a patrol officer attempted to pull over a vehicle for a traffic violation.

As the officer waited for backup the license plate of the vehicle indicated it had been stolen out of Oxnard earlier in the day.

The vehicle stopped in the area of Chalmette Avenue and Telephone Road and police say the occupant got out and ran across Telephone Road into residential area.

More officers arrived, a perimeter was set up, and a search was conducted.

Police say they found 35-year-old Scott Hernandez in the 5000 block of Basie Street hiding in some bushes and he was taken into custody for possession of a stolen vehicle and resisting arrest.

The vehicle was undamaged and returned to its owner.

Guilty Plea In Fatal DUI Crash Near Ventura

KVTA News Wednesday April 15, 2015

(Photo is courtesy Kristin Eugenio)

In a rare move, the driver arrested in connection with that DUI crash near Ventura last Thursday night pleaded guilty less than a week after it happened.

According to court records, 32-year-old Edward Virgilio of Ventura entered a guilty plea to Gross Vehicular Manslaughter while Intoxicated and admitted a special allegation that he had a prior DUI-related conviction.

According to the CHP and prosecutors, Virgilio was driving on the Casitas Vista on ramp to the southbound 33 Freeway when he failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the road and slammed into a palm tree.

Virgilio was able to get out of the wreckage, but his passenger, 28-year-old Bryan Florer of Ventura, was trapped in the wreckage as the vehicle burst into flames.

Despite Virgilio's efforts to rescue him, Florer died in the flames.

Prosecutors say Virgilio's blood alcohol level at the time was .16 which is twice the legal limit.

The DA's office decided not to pursue a murder charge because Virgilio stayed at the scene and had shown significant remorse about what happened.

He remains in jail on $50,000 pending sentencing on June 12th.

Jail Inmate Dies In Cell

KVTA News Wednesday April 15, 2015

An investigation is underway into the death of an inmate at the Pretrial Detention Facility in Ventura.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department says that around 6 AM Wednesday morning 60-year-old Sergio Ramos of Oxnard was found unresponsive and not breathing in his cell.

Emergency aid was rendered by deputies and later advance life saving efforts were conducted by fire and ambulance personnel but he was pronounced dead at the jail.

While Major Crime detectives are investigating the death, the department says there is no indication of violence of suspicious circumstances. 

According to court records, Ramos was in jail awaiting a May 28th trial on a charge of committing a lewd act with a child.

Man Accused Of Ventura Government Center Arson Declared Incompetent

KVTA News Wednesday April 15, 2015

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Sheriff Department)

The Santa Monica man charged with setting several vehicles on fire at the Ventura County Government Center in February has been declared mentally incompetent.

In court Wednesday, the judge agreed with a psychologist's report that 36-year-old Jeffrey Landis is mentally incompetent to understand the charges against him or help in his defense.

Prosecutors did not object to the report or the judge's ruling.

That ruling means that criminal proceedings against Landis are now suspended and he will be placed in a mental facility to see if his mental state can be restored so he can face charges.

Landis is accused of burning his vehicle and several others in the parking lot between the jail and the courthouse in the predawn hours of February 21st.

He is also accused of threatening to have a bomb in his backpack which turned out to be false.

Deputies said at the time that Landis resisted arrest and they had to use less lethal means to take him into custody.

Weather Raises Red Flag Over Fire Danger

KVTA News Tuesday April 14, 2015

The National Weather Service and fire officials are raising concern about the weather forecast over the next couple of days.

Here's what the NWS office says...







DA Refiles Charges Against Jane Laut

KVTA News Tuesday April 14, 2015

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Sheriff)

The Ventura County District Attorney's Office has refiled murder and other charges against 57-year-old Jane Laut of Oxnard in connection with the August 2009 shooting death of her Olympic medal-winning husband Dave.

Laut was in court Tuesday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to the refiled charges and denied the special allegations.

The DA last week dropped the original case against Laut as a legal strategy to deal with the judge's insistence that the trial go forward now despite the fact that prosecutors were having trouble rescheduling witnesses after prior delays in the trial.

The case now starts over again, with a preliminary hearing set for April 22th.

Meanwhile, there is a battle over bail and whether Laut can get out of jail.

When the DA dropped the original case last week, Laut, who had been free for several years on $500,000 bail, was rearrested and bail was set at $3 million.

Today the judge lowered it to $750,000. 

The defense wants her released on her own recognizance and prosecutors would like to increase the bail back up to $3 million.

Warnings And Tips About Dealing With Marine Mammals

KVTA News Tuesday April 14, 2015

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Sheriff's Department)

(Photo courtesy Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute)

Here's a request and some important rules from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department regarding stranded marine mammals...

Recently seals and other marine life have come out of the ocean and onto our beaches.

As cute and cuddly they may appear, they are still dangerous and need our support to help them return to their natural habitat.

The Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) is our local Ventura County contact for ensuring all marine wildlife is returned safely.

If you come across marine wildlife that needs help, please call the CIMWI hotline at (805) 567-1505.

Make sure you leave the exact location, time, and any other information they might need to respond.

Also, do NOT approach or touch the mammal

You can learn more about our local marine wildlife at CIMWI’s website,

Reminder..... It is a federal offense to harm or harass any marine mammal!

And here's the backstory from CIMWI about this particular sea lion and how it got onto the sheriff's patrol car...

"This female California sea lion pup found a warm spot to rest on a cold rainy day in Ventura! The orange tag let us know it was an animal that was previously rescued, rehabilitated, and released. This repeat offender was turning herself in to the Ventura County Sheriff! A CIMWI volunteer quickly responded and rescued this pup which was feisty but very thin and dehydrated."

Man Arrested After Pursuit Through SB & Ventura Counties

KVTA News Tuesday April 14, 2015

The CHP, with the help of the sheriff's department, was involved in a pursuit that started in Santa Barbara County, traveled into Ventura County, and then back into Santa Barbara County.
The pursuit began after midnight Tuesday morning in Santa Barbara County with a subject apparently involved in a domestic dispute.
The suspect led the CHP on a chase that traveled through Carpinteria and into the Ojai Valley via Highway 150 and then through portions of the Ojai Valley near Lake Casitas down to Foster Park, and then back around Lake Casitas and Highway 150 west into Carpinteria.
The pursuit wound its way through back roads in Carpinteria, Summerland, and finally Montecito where the suspect was finally stopped and arrested in the area of Jameson Lane and San Ysidro Road.
There were no reports of injuries.

The CHP, with the help of the sheriff's department, was involved in a pursuit that started in Santa Barbara County, traveled into Ventura County, and then back into Santa Barbara County.

The pursuit began after midnight Tuesday morning in Santa Barbara County with a subject apparently involved in a domestic dispute.

The suspect led the CHP on a chase that traveled through Carpinteria and into the Ojai Valley via Highway 150 and then through portions of the Ojai Valley near Lake Casitas down to Foster Park, and then back around Lake Casitas and Highway 150 west into Carpinteria.

The pursuit wound its way through back roads in Carpinteria, Summerland, and finally Montecito where the suspect was finally stopped and arrested in the area of Jameson Lane and San Ysidro Road.

There were no reports of injuries.