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KVTA Local News

Metrolink Engineer Involved In Oxnard Crash Dies

KVTA News Tuesday March 3, 2015

(Photo by Benjamin Paredes)

The engineer of the Metrolink train involved in the crash and derailment in Oxnard last week died Tuesday morning.

62-year-old Glen Steele died at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

He is the only fatality from the crash.

Steele was in the front cab of the lead passenger car of the train which was being pushed by an engine at the rear when the train crashed into a pickup truck and trailer on the tracks just west of Rice Avenue around 5:40 AM on February 24th.

The train derailed just east of Rice Avenue with three of its passenger cars, including the one containing the engineers, tumbling off the tracks.

Steele, who was the most experienced engineer in the Metrolink system, was with another engineer who was also injured.

In all, some 30 passengers and crew on board the train were injured in the crash and derailment with Steele being the most seriously injured.

He was initially taken to VCMC where his heart reportedly stopped twice and he had to be revived.

He was later transferred to Cedars Sinai.

Meanwhile, the driver of the pickup, 54-year-old Jose Sanchez-Ramirez of Arizona, was arrested for felony hit and run after he was found wandering some distance from the crash.

But the DA did not file charges, deciding to wait until the investigation into the incident was completed.

Sanchez-Ramirez is free on his own recognizance while the DA considers what, if any, charges will be filed against him.

He is due back in court in May.

Woman Admits Incident That Killed Oxnard Pedestrian

KVTA News Tuesday March 3, 2015

Updated--A Port Hueneme woman has pleaded guilty in connection with a hit and run incident in Oxnard that left a pedestrian dead.

27-year-old Tiffany Helling could face up to a year in the Ventura County Jail when she is sentenced on May 26th.

She has admitted to a felony charge of fleeing the scene of an accident involving death and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter not involving alcohol or gross negligence in connection with an incident in September 2013 that left 20-year-old Aida Reyes of Oxnard dead.

Oxnard police say that around 10:50 PM on the night of September 20, 2013, Reyes was walking across the street at the intersection of Hemlock Street and Capstan Drive when she was struck by a vehicle that then fled the scene.

Reyes died later at the hospital.

Police later found the vehicle involved, abandoned, not too far from the accident scene.

Following a three week investigation, Helling was arrested and charged.

Prosecutors had a difficult time with the case and at one point the charges were dropped.

One issue concerned whether Helling was texting while driving and whether that had anything to do with the incident or the charges against her. 

Her guilty pleas came in an agreement with prosecutors that she serve no more than a year in jail.  Her attorney, Ron Bamieh, told KVTA News his client is very remorseful about what happened.

OPD Says Man Killed Was Innocent Victim Of Gang Violence

KVTA News Tuesday March 3, 2015

Oxnard homicide detectives tell KVTA News the man who was shot to death Saturday night was the innocent victim of what appears to have been gang violence.

They say that 22-year-old Michael Andrade was not a gang member and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when suspected gang members fired on a group of people in the 100 block of Eliza Court.

Another member of the group, also a 22-year-old Oxnard man, was seriously wounded by the gunfire.

Police say Andrade and the other man were trying to flee from the gunfire when they were struck. 

Police are investigating whether the shooting was in retaliation for a shooting earlier in the day in south Oxnard.

PCH OPEN AGAIN AS OF 8:50 AM MONDAY!

KVTA News Monday March 2, 2015

(Photo courtesy Caltrans)

Caltrans reopened PCH from Point Mugu to Malibu Monday morning around 8:50 AM.

It had been closed early Sunday morning because of some damage caused by the storm that moved through late Saturday into Sunday morning just north of Mugu Rock.

That was fixed by Caltrans crews before nightfall Sunday but they decided to wait until Monday morning to reopen it and now they have.

The Sunday morning closure happened less than two days after they had reopened PCH following and two and a half month closure because of December storms and January surf.

Thunderstorms Bring Rain, Hail, Closes PCH Again

KVTA News Sunday March 1, 2015

(Above photo courtesy Rebecca Eckert/Bottom photo courtesy Cesar Cruz)


A parade of thunderstorms marched through Ventura County from before dawn to well after dark Sunday.

They brought thunder, lightning, rain and hail, but no major problems.

PCH was closed due to a mudslide north of Mugu Rock and full debris basins.

Caltrans cleaned it up and was ready to reopen by nightfall, but decided to keep it closed until morning when the threat of more storms should pass.

It was reopened at 8:50 AM Monday.

There were flash flood warnings for Camarillo, Moorpark, Somis, and the Springs burn area, but they were allowed to expire.

Still, the threat of roadway flooding remained.

Here are rainfall totals through 6 PM Sunday...


 .VENTURA CO. (COASTAL)

 CSU CHANNEL ISLANDS............... 1.18

 OXNARD CIVIC CENTER............... 0.55

 SILVERSTRAND BEACH................ 0.52

 SATICOY........................... 0.44

 OXNARD - NWS...................... 0.37

 VENTURA........................... 0.28

 LA CONCHITA....................... 0.19

 LEO CARRILLO...................... 0.05

 CAMARILLO (KCMA).................. 0.04

 

 .VENTURA CO. (W. VLYS)

 MATILIJA DAM...................... 1.07

 SOUTH MOUNTAIN.................... 0.51

 STEWART CANYON.................... 0.51

 OJAI.............................. 0.36

 FAGAN CANYON...................... 0.24

 STATION CANYON.................... 0.20

 LAKE CASITAS...................... 0.18

 

 .VENTURA CO. (E. VLYS)

 ROCKY PEAK........................ 0.59

 SYCAMORE CANYON DAM............... 0.48

 CIRCLE X RANCH.................... 0.47

 FILLMORE.......................... 0.44

 THOUSAND OAKS..................... 0.44

 MOORPARK.......................... 0.41

 CHEESEBORO........................ 0.37

 SIMI VALLEY....................... 0.35

 PIRU.............................. 0.12

 LAKE PIRU......................... 0.09

 

 .VENTURA CO. (MTNS)

 WHITE LEDGE PEAK.................. 0.95

 NORDHOFF RIDGE.................... 0.91

 ORTEGA HILL....................... 0.58

 OLD MAN MOUNTAIN.................. 0.35

 HUNGRY VALLEY..................... 0.16

 LOCKWOOD VALLEY................... 0.12

 ROSE VALLEY....................... 0.12

 ALAMO MOUNTAIN.................... 0.09

 APACHE CANYON..................... 0.08

 CHUCHUPATE........................ 0.05

 

Train Hits Car Near Camarillo

KVTA News Sunday March 1, 2015

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Fire Department)

No injuries were reported after an Amtrak passenger train hit a car near Camarillo Sunday night.

The incident was reported around 8 PM on the track at Pleasant Valley and 5th Street west of Camarillo Airport near the Oxnard Pallet Company.

Initial reports indicate that a car with three people got stuck on the tracks.

The people in the car got out before the train hit it and they were not hurt.

The train stayed on the tracks and there were no injuries reported among the almost 90 passengers and crew on board the train.

Passengers were bussed around the accident scene.

Fatal Gang Related Shooting In Oxnard

KVTA News Saturday February 28, 2015

Updated-Oxnard police say one young man is dead, another injured, in a gang related shooting Saturday night.

They say that shortly after 9 PM the two victims were hanging out with two additional subjects in the 100 block of Eliza Court south of Del Sol Park when they were approached by two suspects on foot who opened fire on the group.

There were several shots fired and then the suspects ran westbound towards Delores Court.

One of the victims, a 22-year-old male from Oxnard, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Family members tells KVTA News the victim was not a gang member although police believe the suspects were gang members.

The other victim, also a 22-year-old male from Oxnard, was taken to VCMC and is in serious but stable condition.

Their names have not been released yet.

Police believe this was gang related and they are trying to determine if this was in retaliation for an earlier shooting on the 700 block of Berkshire Place in Oxnard.

In that shooting shortly before 11 AM Saturday, a 23-year-old man was shot in the foot as he ran from two suspects and a 39-year-old woman who just happened to be walking in the area was slightly wounded by a stray bullet.

The shooting on Eliza Court is Oxnard’s third homicide of the year.

Investigators are encouraging anyone with information about this incident to contact Detective Bob Eckman (805) 385-7760.

If you wish to remain anonymous you can call the Violent Crimes Hotline at (805) 982-7070 or Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. 

You can also visit www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org to submit a tip via text or email.

Camarillo-Area Man Arrested For Child Molestation

KVTA News Friday February 27, 2015


The Ventura County Sheriff's Department says they've arrested a Camarillo-area man for allegedly molesting a 4-year-old girl.

They say 71-year-old Donald Osborne Hatch was arrested on February 22nd at his residence in an unincorporated area near Camarillo.

Investigators accuse Hatch of molesting the girl at his home. 

He is in the Ventura County Jail with bail set at $1 million and is due to be in court March 9th to be arraigned on a host of charges relating to the alleged molestation.

PCH To Reopen Friday By 3 PM

(Update-PCH reopened at 2:15 PM Friday)

KVTA News Thursday February 26, 2015

(Photos courtesy Caltrans, VC Sheriff Department)

The final three mile closure on Pacific Coast Highway near the Ventura-LA county line will be opened by 3 PM Friday.

When that happens, it will be the first time in more than two months that drivers will be able to travel all the way between Oxnard and Santa Monica using PCH with no detours.

The roadway was initially shut down during December when storms caused major debris and mud flows from the hillsides and canyons left bare by the 2013 Springs Fire.

Then, in January, heavy surf undermined the roadway at several spots.

The closure originally stretched for nine miles, from Las Posas Road south to Yerba Buena.

A few weeks ago, they were able to reopen a six mile stretch from Las Posas to Sycamore but a three mile stretch remained closed just north of the Ventura-LA County line. 

That three mile stretch will be reopened tomorrow at 3 PM which means drivers will be able to travel from from Oxnard to Santa Monica.

DA: No Charges For Now In Oxnard Train Crash

KVTA News Thursday February 26, 2015

Updated--The Ventura County District Attorney's Office will not file charges at this time against the truck driver arrested in connection with the train crash that injured 30 people in Oxnard Tuesday morning.
The DA issued a short news release Thursday afternoon saying that until the investigations into the incident are complete, they will not make a decision as to whether 54-year-old Jose Sanchez-Ramirez of Yuma Arizona should be charged.
Police arrested Ramirez for felony hit and run in connection with the crash that derailed the Metrolink train after he was found a mile away from the crash scene at Rice Avenue and Fifth Street.
But there are still outstanding questions about his state of mind at the time and why he left the scene of the crash.
There have also been contradictory statements from investigators about whether the truck was stuck on the tracks before the collision.
He was in jail on $150,000 bail and was scheduled to be in court Thursday afternoon.

Updated--The Ventura County District Attorney's Office will not file charges at this time against the truck driver arrested in connection with the train crash that injured 30 people in Oxnard Tuesday morning.

The DA issued a short news release Thursday afternoon saying that until the investigations into the incident are complete, they will not make a decision as to whether 54-year-old Jose Sanchez-Ramirez of Yuma Arizona should be charged.

Police arrested Ramirez for felony hit and run in connection with the crash that derailed the Metrolink train at Rice Avenue and Fifth Street after he was found wandering a mile away from the scene.

Police say he appeared disoriented.

Police have said Ramirez was southbound on Rice in the predawn darkness when he made a right turn onto what he thought was westbound Fifth.

In fact, he had turned onto the tracks which run parallel to Fifth Street along the north side of Fifth.

He then traveled some 80 feet westbound down the tracks and told police he could not get the truck off the tracks and ran for help before the collision.

There are still outstanding questions about his state of mind at the time and why he left the scene of the crash.

There have also been contradictory statements from investigators about whether he could have driven the truck off the tracks before the collision.

Ramirez was jailed Tuesday on $150,000 bail and was in court Thursday afternoon.

He is being released from jail on his own recognizance and will return to court May 4th to see whether charges will be filed.

Of the 30 people injured in the crash, three were still reported in critical condition including the train's engineer.

The intersection of Rice Avenue and Fifth Street was reopened Wednesday afternoon and train traffic through the area returned to normal by Thursday morning.

Here is a link to the DA's news release:

http://www.vcdistrictattorney.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/15-011-Metrolink.pdf

Guilty Verdict In Oxnard Cold Case Murder

KVTA News Thursday February 26, 2015


A jury Thursday convicted an Alabama man in connection with the rape and murder of an Oxnard teenager more than 34 years ago.

The panel found 67-year-old Thomas Young guilty of first degree murder in the beating and stabbing death of 15-year-old Stacy Knappenberger at her Oxnard home in 1980.

They also found true the special circumstance allegation that the killing took place during a rape.

That means Young will face life in prison without parole when he is sentenced March 20th.

The case went unsolved for more than 30 years, but advances in DNA technology and the development of an DNA database led to Young as a possible suspect.

Further investigation led to his arrest and he was brought back to Ventura County to stand trial.

Rain And Snow Forecast For This Weekend

KVTA News Thursday February 26, 2015


The National Weather Service in Oxnard says some rain and snow down to 3500 feet is forecast for this weekend... 

"An area of low pressure will move south from Washington State into California by Friday. This area of low pressure will linger over Southern California Saturday and Sunday bringing the potential for low snow levels and a slight chance for thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening. This event is still a few days away and models could change a bit over the next few days. As the potential storm event draws closer there will be more details added to the forecast and other non routine products. People should be aware that there could be the potential for driving hazards through the Interstate 5 corridor and Highway 14 with blowing snow and icy conditions as low as 3500 ft by Sunday. Also, with the potential for thunderstorms to develop…that recent burn areas could see brief periods of heavy rainfall which could trigger debris flows. Stay tuned to NOAA Wx Radio for further instructions."

Ventura Man Arrested For Sexually Assaulting 14-Year-Old

KVTA News Thursday February 26, 2015

(Photo courtesy VPD)

Ventura police arrested a man Thursday that they accused of luring a 14-year-old girl via Facebook, getting her intoxicated, and then sexually assaulting her.

Police say 29-year-old Daniel Gil of Ventura is charged with sexually assaulting the teen while she was intoxicated.

They say in May of last year, the 14-year-old reported that she was sexually assaulted by an older man who had met her on Facebook and had used Facebook to lure her into a meeting at his home.

Police say she told them Gil offered her drugs and alcohol to entice her to spend time with him.

They say she told them he then sexually assaulted her.

She was 14 at the time, Gil was 28.

Police say they served a search warrant on Gil in November of last year and obtained evidence at his residence on Fawn Avenue.

He was arrested today and booked into the Ventura County Jail with bail set at $100,000. 

Ventura police say that based on the evidence and information they developed during their investigation, detectives believe this was not an isolated incident and they're asking anyone with information to call Detective Ruggiero at (805) 339-4304.