(Photos courtesy Ventura County Aviation Unit)
Updated--The 50 acre brushfire burning near west Ventura is now 30% contained.
The fire was reported just before 2 PM Thursday afternoon near Ventura Avenue and Casitas Vista Road.
By 2:20 PM it had burned 3 acres and was growing.
By 2:40 it had burned 40 acres and was growing rapidly from west to east.
But by 5:15 PM only about 50 acres had burned so clearly firefighters had slowed the progress of the fire.
Firefighters from Ventura City and County were battling the fire along with hand crews and water dropping helicopters.
About 150 firefighters from several different agencies were assigned to the fire including a number of hand crews, engine companies and several water dropping helicopters.
Fixed wind air tankers had problems due to power lines in the area and the gusty winds.
Highway 33 remains open from the off and on ramps from northbound at Casitas Vista were closed and there was a backup on the northbound 33.
Also, northbound Ventura Avenue was closed at Canada Larga.
The Teen Challenge facility was threatened but firefighters protected it and the fire moved past that area.
The are no structures in any immediate danger.
The fire has stayed to the east of Highway 33.
In addition to the high power lines, there is a 20 inch high pressure underground natural gas pipeline that runs beneath the power lines on the ridge where the fire is burning.
The forecast calls for gusty winds this evening but they should die down by morning and there's even a chance of low clouds and fog Friday morning.
No injuries reported.
Cause of the fire was under investigation.
A Ventura County jury has convicted an Arizona man of the extensive sexual abuse of a Ventura girl.
Prosecutors say that 41-year-old Richard Gonzales molested the girl for three years starting when she was five years old.
They say Gonzales was involved in a relationship with the girl's mother at the time.
The case came to the attention of the authorities after the little girl told a friend at school and the friend went to the school principal and reported it and the principal notified the authorities.
Gonzales is now facing life in prison when he is sentenced on May 20th.
A Moorpark man has admitted that while a member of the Ventura County Civil Grand Jury he submitted false time cards and forged the signature of the Grand Jury Foreman in order to get paid for time he was not working.
Prosecutors say that 85-year-old Robert A. Pesky served on the Civil Grand Jury for four years and was its treasurer for a time.
They say that during that time he submitted false time cards on four occasions for services as a grand juror on days he did not serve and then forged the signature of the grand jury foreman and submitted them to the county for payment.
They say he ripped off the taxpayers off for about $1,540.
Pesky pleaded guilty to misdemeanor grand theft and was sentenced to 30 days of home confinement with an ankle bracelet and three years summary probation.
Pesky paid full restitution.
The Civil Grand Jury's role is in part to make sure government is running efficiently and effectively and above board.
A female Ventura County Jail inmate has been charged with assaulting a deputy while in custody at the Todd Road jail near Santa Paula.
Deputies say 23-year-old Sarah Robledo of Camarillo was charged with battery on a peace officer, obstructing and resisting a peace officer.
They say during the incident on the night of April 13th, the deputy was directing two inmates in the housing unit hallway when Robledo allegedly failed to follow several directives and began to walk away.
Deputies say as the deputy tried to stop Robledo, she turned around and immediately started flailing her arms and tried to punch the deputy several times.
A second deputy responded and the two deputies were able to finally restrain Robledo.
The two deputies received minor injuries during the incident.
Deputies say that Robledo was originally in custody for second degree robbery, battery and resisting arrest and has been in jail since January.
She has pleaded not guilty to the latest charges and is due in court Friday for a preliminary hearing.
(Photo by Larry Raffaelli)
The wave-damaged Ventura Pier will be fully reopened Saturday morning.
On December 11th waves more than 20 feet high damaged a good portion of the pier, ripping away 20 timber pilings and shaking loose another 19.
It also destroyed or damaged 40% of the wooden and steele cross bracings.
Originally built in 1872 as a wharf for commercial use – and once the longest wooden pier at 1,958 feet – the Ventura Pier now measures 1,535 feet of steel and timber.
The ribbon cutting ceremony to reopen the pier will be at 10 AM Saturday and will feature several local officials.
Port Hueneme police are investigating a shooting incident in that city Tuesday night.
It was reported around 9 PM in the 600 block of Halyard Avenue near Sextant.
Police found a 26-year-old man suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound.
He was taken to Saint John's Medical Center and is recovering.
Police say the suspects fled the scene in a tan colored Chevy Suburban.
They continue to look for suspects and a motive.
Deputies in Camarillo say they've arrested a San Fernando Valley man for allegedly molesting a 15-year-old girl.
They say that 69-year-old Hahannes Farmanyan of Woodland Hills worked at a recycling center behind businesses in the 300 block of Arneill Road in Camarillo.
Deputies say during the past 2-3 weeks the girl had been playing with friends in the area of the recycling containers and had contact with Farmanyan.
Farmanyan is accused of conducting lewd acts with the girl during these encounters.
Deputies say during their investigation, they learned that Farmanyan had many other contacts with other children in the area of the recycling center and they are asking for anyone with additional information about Farmanyan to contact Camarillo Police.
A judge on Tuesday ordered a man to stand trial for a double shooting in east Ventura last December that left one person dead and another severely wounded.
30-year-old Brandon Ellis is charged with murder and attempted murder in the shootings that took place in a condo in the 1600 block of Tapir Circle on December 17, 2015.
47-year-old Douglas Blasher was killed and a 20-year-old woman was severely injured in the shootings.
Ventura police said that Ellis had a prior relationship with the woman.
She did not live at the condo where the shootings took place.
Ellis fled to Mexico after the shootings but was captured after someone in a bar at Rosarito Beach recognized him from media reports and called the authorities.
At his original arraignment, it was revealed that Ellis had allegedly flooded his cell at the Ventura County Jail and was found to be in possession of a handcuff key.
His bail remains at $5 million dollars and he remains in custody and is due back in court on May 10th to have a trial date set.
A Ventura County Grand Jury has indicted a suspect for murder in the death of a man in Oxnard last year.
47-year-old George Malone Jr. of Port Hueneme was arrested in the Ventura County Jail where he was already in custody for an unrelated crime.
The Grand Jury indictment charges Malone with murder in the October 27, 2015 stabbing death of 50-year-old Paul Blevins of Oxnard.
Malone is also charged with taking Blevins vehicle after he stabbed him.
Blevins was found in the 1500 block of South Oxnard Boulevard in the early morning hours of October 27th.
He was rushed to VCMC suffering from stab wounds and died at the hospital.
Malone was in court Monday but his arraignment was continued until May 9th.
He remains in jail on $1 million bail.
Simi Valley police are investigating a fatal crash.
It happened around 4:30 AM Tuesday on Alamo Street west of Sycamore Drive.
They say a silver-grey Chevrolet SUV traveling at a high rate of speed left the roadway, struck a retaining wall and then slammed into some trees.
The male driver, the only occupant of the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.
His name has not been released yet.
The Simi PD traffic division conducted an extensive investigation into the incident that required the long term closure of Alamo in that area.
An Oxnard man was taken into custody early Tuesday morning after an eight hour standoff at a house.
Police responded around 5 PM to a report of a violent family dispute at a house in the 400 block of W. Juniper Street near C Street in Oxnard.
They were told that a young male family member had threatened one female family member with an axe and had battered another earlier in the day.
While police were investigating, family members escaped the house through a bathroom window and told police the suspect had come at them with a knife.
The suspect, 20-year-old Luis Gomez of Oxnard, refused to come out or even talk with police as they tried to get him to surrender.
Police surrounded the house, shut down Juniper and C streets and called in the Crisis Intervention team, SWAT, armored vehicles from Oxnard and Ventura and a K-9.
For hours they continued to try to make contact with Gomez but to no avail.
They tried flash-bang grenades and other tactics designed to get him to surrender.
Finally, the SWAT team deployed tear gas and the K-9 and went in and took Gomez into custody.
He was taken to VCMC to be checked out for injuries caused by the K-9 and was expected to be booked into the Ventura County Jail on a number of charges.
Ventura City Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a mobile construction office.
The fire was reported at 7:24 PM Monday in the 2400 block of Channel Drive in Ventura.
When firefighters arrived on scene they found the structure engulfed in flames with the fire threatening a nearby boat and construction materials.
Power lines above the fire were also damaged and began to arc in the gusty winds experienced in the area Monday.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire eight minutes after they arrived on scene.
No injuries were reported.
Deputies say that a disaster was narrowly averted Monday morning in Thousand Oaks when a driver suffered a medical emergency with two children in the vehicle and crashed onto the campus of an elementary school.
The incident happened at 8:12 AM in front of Wildwood Elementary School.
The vehicle was traveling eastbound on Avenida De Los Arboles approaching Velarde Drive when the 40-year-old male driver suffered a medical emergency and lost control.
The vehicle struck a curb before sideswiping another vehicle and then went over the curb and onto school property where it narrowly missed a crossing guard and two pedestrians.
The vehicle then collided with a large boulder, coming to rest on the front lawn of the school.
Off duty AMR paramedics rendered first aid to the unconscious driver.
The two small children in the vehicle were released to school officials to attend school.
The driver was taken to Los Robles Medical Center to be treated for his medical condition and was listed as stable.
(Photo courtesy Ventura County Fire Department)
Updated---A horse was rescued from a ditch in Simi Valley Monday morning.
The 32-year-old Arabian called "Ashley" was found in a shallow drainage ditch between an overhang and a fence in the 1200 block of Nonchalant Drive around 7:30 AM.
Because of the position she was in, the horse could not get herself back up so the Ventura County Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue Teams was called in.
The horse was sedated and a special sled device was used to slide her out of the ditch and onto a flat open space.
A vet treated the horse for some abrasions and waited until the sedation wore off and then Ashley was able to get back up on her own and is reported to be doing fine.
Updated--The Ventura County District Attorney's Office said Monday it has charged a man with child molestation.
They say that 67-year-old Arthur Edward Troll is accused of one felony count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child under 14.
Prosecutors allege the abuse happened between June 1, 2014 and September 1, 2015 in the city of Ventura when the victim was in elementary school.
The DA says Troll served for many years on the City of Ventura Local Construction Appeals Board and has served on the Westside Community Council Board of Directors.
They say Troll is current in custody in Kern County on unrelated charges.
No court date has been set in this case.
If convicted, Troll faces a maximum of 16 years in prison.
UPDATED---A hotel in Oxnard was evacuated Monday morning after what was described as a suspicious backpack was found in a meeting room.
An employee discovered the backpack around 9:30 AM and Oxnard police were called.
Police responded and they called in the sheriff's bomb squad.
Meantime, the hotel was evacuated.
By late morning, the bomb squad had examined the backpack and discovered it contained some wires and camera equipment.
They say it was probably left in the meeting room more than a week ago.
(Photo courtesy Amanda Ruiz)
UPDATED---Ventura police say a female juvenile was arrested Monday afternoon after she led them on a short, slow speed pursuit in a stolen vehicle and crashed into several other vehicles along the way.
The incident began around 1:30 PM when police received a call of a stolen vehicle that had crashed into a parked vehicle at Market and Walter streets.
Officers responded and spotted the vehicle entering the Target parking lot.
They tried to stop it but the driver failed to yield and exited the parking lot onto Donlon Street.
They say the driver hit a parked vehicle on Donlon and continued on to Bessemer Street behind Target where the driver lost control, veered off the roadway and crashed into a parking lot, hitting more parked cars.
At that point, officers were able to take the female juvenile driver into custody.
No one was hurt.
The female juvenile, a reported runaway, was booked into Juvenile Hall for evading and hit and run.
Because of her age, her name was not released.
Oxnard police are looking for the suspect in a robbery and shooting early Sunday morning that left an employee injured.
It happened around 2:13 AM at Oxnard Donuts at 2510 Saviers Road.
Police say the suspect entered the business, confronted the employee and demanded cash.
They say during the robbery at least one shot was fired, injuring the employee.
The suspect took an undisclosed amount of cash and was last week running north through the parking lot.
The injured employee was taken to a local hospital and is expected to recover.
Police describe the suspect as a Hispanic male 27-32 years old, 5'8" tall and 200 pounds.
They say he was wearing a black ball cap, black sweatshirt, black pants and had a blue bandanna covering his face.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Detective Scott Coe at (805) 385-7796.
If you wish to remain anonymous you may call the violent crimes hotline at (805) 982-7070 or Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
You can also visit this site http://www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org/contactus.aspx to submit a tip via text or email.