(Photo courtesy Ventura City Fire Department)
The Ventura City Fire Department says that two adults were displaced by a garage fire at a condo complex near downtown Saturday morning.
The fire was reported around 7:15 AM in the 800 block of Casmalia Lane near Tioga Drive, northeast of City Hall and east of Grant Park.
When firefighters arrived on scene they had black smoke pouring from a ground floor garage under a multi story condo complex.
The two occupants of the condo had evacuated before fire crews arrived.
Firefighters made an aggressive attack on the fire and had it knocked down in less than 15 minutes.
The fire damage was confined to the garage and its contents with some smoke damage to the upper floors.
One of the adult occupants was treated at the scene for minor injuries.
When firefighters arrived they were told by the occupants that two cats were unaccounted for in the condo and possibly in the garage.
After the fire was extinguished, they found the cats hiding in the condo, unharmed.
Cause of the fire was under investigation.
Firefighters from both Ventura City and County responded to the fire.
(Photos courtesy Ventura County Sheriff's Department)
Ventura police say two people were arrested for sex trafficking and pimping a minor female.
They say Wednesday afternoon a resident in the 3100 block of Armada Drive called to say a male and female who arrived in the area in separate vehicles walked into the side yard of a house next door and started having sex.
The caller said he confronted them and they fled.
Police responded and found a female walking by herself in the area of Lang and Main streets who matched the description of the female having sex in the side yard.
She turned out to be a 16-year-old missing out of Riverside County.
Other officers found a separate female walking with a man in the area of Dos Caminos and Telegraph Road and because she also looked like the female seen having sex, the couple was stopped and questioned.
Police say those two were identified as 18-year-old Asia Jones of Riverside and 27-year-old Percy Stanley, formerly of Arkansas.
Police say through investigation they determined there was a connection between the couple and the 16-year-old and all three were staying together at a local motel.
They also found a vehicle parked at the Pacific View Mall that was the vehicle that dropped off the 16-year-old at the Armada address earlier.
Police say evidence found in the vehicle revealed that Jones and Stanley had allegedly been prostituting the 16-year-old and that the man who was seen having sex with her had arranged the meeting through social media.
He is at large.
The authorities do not know if he knew the female was a minor.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Department says an attack by one jail inmate on another has resulted in a one year jail sentence.
24-year-old Jordan David Mustain of Simi Valley was sentenced Thursday to 365 days in jail and three years probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery on another inmate in February of last year at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility (Main Jail) in Ventura.
He also admitted the crime was committed on behalf of a prison gang and that's a felony.
The victim was a 21-year-old Ventura man.
Sheriff's officials say because of recent legislation at the state level and prison realignment, they are dealing with a large increase in violence in the county jail system because inmates who should be in state prison are now serving their time in county jails.
They say the department is trying to ensure the safety of inmates and safety in the county jail system and will do everything it can to deal with those who commit violence while in jail.
The Ventura police department says they've arrested a woman for stealing a vehicle and then driving it while under the influence and causing an injury crash.
They say around 9:13 AM Friday morning officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle in the 2700 block of East Main Street.
The victim said she had parked her vehicle in the lot and then found it gone when she returned.
While the officers were taking a report, they were told there had just been a crash in the 1000 block of Thompson Boulevard near Laurel Street.
When officers arrived at the scene of the crash they found that the vehicle stolen from the East Main Street parking lot had collided with a parked vehicle at the Thompson location.
There were people in that parked vehicle and one of them was injured in the collision.
Police says they arrested the driver of the stolen vehicle, 42-year-old Amber Luis, a vagrant from Ventura, for vehicle theft and DUI.
The occupant of the parked car who was injured was taken to VCMC and tr
Ventura County received a bit more rain Thursday before a period of dry weather is forecast to take hold.
The rainfall amounts for the 24 hour period ending at 4 PM Thursday showed most of the county recorded between a third and two thirds of an inch with some areas getting even more (see figures at the bottom of post).
Showers are still possible through Thursday night but dry weather should establish itself Friday and last at least through the middle of next week.
The mountains above Ojai, Santa Paula, and Fillmore are receiving snow above 5,500 feet and that snow level will drop to 3500 feet by early Friday morning.
I-5 is open, but that could change early Friday morning and Highway 33 north of the Ojai Valley between Pine Mountain Summit and Lockwood Valley is under R1 Chain Control according to the CHP and Caltrans.
Rainfall totals since the rain year began in October are now at or above normal in virtually all of Ventura County.
Here are the 24 hour rainfall totals as of 4 PM Thursday according to the remote rain gauges of the Ventura County Watershed Protection District (again, some areas may be higher)...
County Government Center in Ventura .35
Oxnard Civic Center .37
Port Hueneme .58
Santa Paula .36
Thousand Oaks .62
Simi Valley .72
Here is what the National Weather Service is saying about the mountains areas Thursday into Friday...
"Moderate widespread rain and mountain snow will continue today, followed by a chance of mountain snow showers into early Friday.
Snow levels will generally range between 5000 and 5500 feet through Thursday, then rapidly lower to 3500 feet Thursday night into early Friday when there is the potential for accumulating snow showers and ice on Interstate 5 near the Grapevine/Tejon Pass."
The second defendant in a 2001 Oxnard rape case pleaded guilty Thursday to that and to charges in an unrelated case.
37-year-old Martin Padilla of Oxnard faces 50 years in state prison when he is sentenced on February 9th.
Padilla and 34-year-old Oswaldo Pinaloza sexually assaulted a 17-year-old Japanese foreign exchange student after they abducted her while she walked along Rose Avenue near LIndsay Place in 2001.
It took several years before they were identified and arrested and then several more years before the case was ready for trial.
Instead, both men pleaded guilty before their trials began.
Pinaloza, who pleaded guilty last year, is facing 32 years in prison when he is sentenced in February.
Padilla's sentence will be longer because he was also convicted of having illegal sex with a 13-year-old girl with whom he had a child.
Both men remain in jail and cannot be released before they are sentenced next month.
(Photo by Alex Wilson, KVTA News, of the swearing in of the newest County Supervisor Kelly Long and reelected incumbents Steve Bennett and John Zaragoza)
Tuesday was a day of change at the Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting as a new chairperson was selected and newly elected Board Member Kelly Long was sworn in to replace long time Supervisor Kathy Long who retired.
Incumbent Supervisors John Zaragoza and Steve Bennett were also sworn in to new terms following their reelection last year.
The Oxnard-based Zaragoza was selected Chair of the Board and Peter Foy got the nod for Vice Chair.
Zaragoza tells KVTA News that he will strive to allow voices on all sides of issues to be heard and to be fair to all those dealing with county government and the board.
He also hopes to focus on the ongoing revitalization effort at the county-run Channel Islands Harbor and the issue of pesticide use near schools.
The Oxnard man accused of killing his wife last week is now facing charges that could bring a death sentence if that's what the DA's office decides to pursue.
Prosecutors filed a first degree murder charge today against 33-year-old Alfredo Ortiz for the fatal shooting of his 37-year-old wife Theresa at a home in the 100 block of N. Juanita Avenue last Thursday.
They also filed a special circumstance allegation that the killing took place during a kidnapping based on a witness account that Ortiz dragged her into the home before the fatal shooting.
Under the law that constituted a kidnapping and that makes him eligible for the death penalty if he is convicted and if the DA's office seeks the death penalty rather than life in prison without parole.
Ortiz made his first court appearance today but did not enter a plea and the arraignment was continued until February 10th.
He remains in jail and cannot be released because it is a potential death penalty case.
A judge Tuesday sentenced a transient to 15-years-to-life in prison for the stomping and beating death of another transient in Ventura.
33-year-old Brent Nash killed 49-year-old William Pekarek in an attack three years ago behind the Trader Joe's on South Victoria Avenue.
Pekarek died from blunt force trauma.
Nash ultimately pleaded guilty to second degree murder and other charges in connection with the fatal attack.
(Above photo courtesy National Weather Service-NWS)
(Above photo courtesy Ventura County shows The Watershed Protection District assessing condition of the county's streams using a Doppler radar device to measure their depth and velocity)
The latest storm to roll through Ventura County left most of the county with above average rainfall for the rain year so far.
Areas like Oxnard, Camarillo, Moorpark and Saticoy are showing more than 130% of normal for the rain year that began October 1, 2016.
Most other areas of the county are between 100% to 126% of normal.
The only areas still below normal are some of the important watersheds above the Ojai Valley that are in the 90%-plus range.
Ojai itself is 104% of normal.
(Here is a link to the average rainfall totals http://www.vcwatershed.net/fws/AutoMedia.htm
The latest storm caused no major problems, just some street flooding and rock slides.
A new storm is due in late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
Here are some rainfall totals for the Sunday night-Monday morning storm from the automated rain gauges of the Ventura County Watershed Protection District...
Ventura City Hall .90
Oxnard Civic Center .79
Port Hueneme .62
Santa Paula .76
Thousand Oaks CC .66
Simi Valley .76
Two young men were sentenced Monday in connection with what the authorities say was a two city crime spree in Ventura County in November of 2015.
Prosecutors say there were actually three Colonia Chiques gang members involved in some part of the crime spree that started with stealing a car from outside an Oxnard repair shop and then driving to Simi Valley where they stole some alcohol from a Rite Aid.
The suspects then burglarized a Simi Valley home.
Finally, they robbed a man in the parking lot outside a Simi Valley gym.
The man was severely beaten with an 18-inch metal pry bar.
The three suspects were tracked down and arrested later that day as they tried to flee through a Simi Valley apartment complex.
Two of those three suspects were sentenced Monday, including 19-year-old Noe Reyes of Oxnard who received 18-years-8-months in prison and 19-year-old Gabriel Alamillo of Oxnard who received a suspended sentence of 16-years-4-months in prison.
The third defendant was sentenced last year to two years in prison.
Prosecutors say Reyes was the most culpable of the three defendants and was the one who wielded the pry bar during the robbery outside the gym.