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KVTA Local News

Man Charged In DUI Death Of Camarillo Deputy Released From Jail

KVTA News Friday October 31, 2014

(Photo courtesy VCSD)

According to Ventura County Jail records, the man accused of killing a Ventura County Sheriff's Deputy last Tuesday morning in Camarillo was released from jail early Friday morning.

25-year-old Kevin Hogrefe of Camarillo pleaded not guilty Thursday to a second degree murder charge in connection with the death of Deputy Eugene Kostiuchenko.

The CHP says Hogrefe struck and killed the deputy on the Lewis Road on ramp to northbound 101 in a DUI incident.

He also pleaded not guilty to felony hit and run.

If convicted, Hogrefe could face 19 years to life in prison.

Prosecutors say they filed the murder charge because of Hogrefe's prior conviction in a DUI-related case in Nevada last year.

Deputy Kostiuchenko was struck and killed outside of his patrol vehicle after completing an unrelated traffic stop.

The CHP says that Hogrefe continued on until he crashed at the Las Posas Road off ramp.

At his arraignment Thursday, the judge raised Hogrefe's bail from $150,000 to $500,000.

He will now remain free on bail until at least his next court appearance in January.

Funeral Arrangements Announced For Deputy Killed By DUI Driver

KVTA News Thursday October 30, 2014

(Deputy Kostiuchenko)

Funeral arrangements have been announced for Ventura County Sheriff's Deputy Eugene Kostiuchenko who was killed in the line of duty early Tuesday morning in Camarillo.

The Sheriff's Department says there will be a Life Celebration Service and Eulogy for the 41-year-old deputy who was an 11-year veteran of the department at... 

Calvary Community Church at 5495 Via Rocas in Westlake Village this coming Tuesday, November 4th at 1 PM.

That will be immediately followed by a Burial Ceremony at... 

Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks at 5600 Lindero Canyon Road in Westlake Village.

Funeral Services will be open to the public.

Meanwhile, the Ventura County Credit Union and the Ventura County Sheriff's Foundation have established a memorial fund for the family of Deputy Kostiuchenko.

Those wishing to assist the family can make memorial donations in checks payable to VCDSA FBO: Deputy Eugene Kostiuchenko and mail them to 981 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura, Ca 93003.

Donations can also be mailed or delivered to any VCCU branch and more information about that can be found on the credit union's website at www.vccuonline.net

Driver Pleads Not Guilty Of Murder In DUI Death Of Deputy

KVTA News Thursday October 30, 2014

(Photo of Kevin Hogrefe courtesy VCSD)

Update-The driver accused of hitting and killing a a sheriff's deputy in Camarillo Tuesday pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge.

25-year-old Kevin Hogrefe of Camarillo was in court briefly Thursday afternoon where he also pleaded not guilty to a felony hit and run charge.

Hogrefe is accused of running down Deputy Eugene Kostiuchenko, an 11-year veteran of the department, just after the deputy had completed a traffic stop on the northbound 101 at Lewis Road in Camarillo around 1:15 AM Tuesday.

The 41-year-old deputy died at the scene.

The CHP says Hogrefe did not stop and was finally arrested after crashing his car on the Las Posas Road off ramp.

The authorities say Hogrefe was also arrested for DUI which is part of the murder charge against him.

If convicted, Hogrefe would face 19-years to life in prison.

His bail was also increased from $150,000 to $500,000.

Hogrefe has a prior DUI arrest in Nevada.

Hogrefe's arraignment Thursday was attended by Sheriff Geoff Dean, DA Greg Totten and other top law enforcement officials.

There was also a crowd of reporters.

The Public Defender's Office was appointed to represent Hogrefe.

Teen Arrested For Assault On Woman In Ventura

KVTA News Thursday October 30, 2014

Ventura police say they've arrested a 15-year-old boy for allegedly assaulting an adult female earlier this month.

The incident happened on October 20th shortly before 4 AM in the 100 block of E. Main Street.

Police say their dispatch center received a call from a hysterical female who said she'd been assaulted by a male at that location.

She told officers she had met the 15-year-old in the downtown area and began to walk with him.

She told police that the teen claimed to be 18-years-old although he did look younger.

The woman told officers the teen suggested they take a short cut off the main street, and when they did, he became aggressive towards her, attempting to grope her even as she refused his advances.

She then told officers that the teen choked her into unconsciousness and when she regained consciousness the boy was trying to undress her.

She said she screamed for help and the teen ran away.

Police conducted a follow up investigation and identified the 15-year-old male suspect as a Ventura resident who had been reported as a runaway at that time.

Detectives located the male juvenile today and he was arrested for felony battery and assault with intent to commit rape and was booked into Juvenile Hall.

Officers Rescue Man Before Car Bursts Into Flames

KVTA News Thursday October 30, 2014

(Photo courtesy Ventura City Fire)

Update-Ventura police say two of their officers pulled the driver from a crashed vehicle seconds before it burst into flames early Thursday morning.

It happened shortly after 12:30 AM at Telephone Road and Copland Drive.

Police say a vehicle driven by a 38-year-old man was driving on the northbound 101 when he exited at the Telephone Road off ramp at a high rate of speed, ran a red light and slammed into a street crew's parked, unoccupied, utility truck.

The force of the impact caused the utility truck to strike a large high voltage Edison pole, shearing the pole in half.

The sheared pole and the live power lines came down on the driver's car and the utility truck, trapping the driver in his vehicle.

Police say Officers Bryan Palmer and Edward McCain arrived on scene and heard the driver of the car calling for help.

The officers pulled the driver from the vehicle just seconds before both vehicles burst into flames.

The driver was taken to VCMC with what the CHP and Ventura City Fire say were minor to moderate injuries.

The crash knocked out power to the area.

DA Fails To File Charges Against Brushfire Arson Suspect

KVTA News Thursday October 30, 2014

(Photo courtesy Kari Pina)

The Oxnard man accused of starting a brush fire near Ventura a month ago was freed from jail this week after the DA's office failed to file charges against him.

24-year-old Garrett Smith was arrested on September 29th along Foothill Road in Ventura and charged with felony arson in connection with a 50 acre brush fire that burned in Harmon Canyon that day.

He remained in jail for a month and was ordered by a judge to stand trial.

But at his scheduled arraignment this week, the DA's office declined to file charges against Smith and he was released from jail.

The DA's office told KVTA News the case is not closed, but they decided not to proceed for now because there was insufficient evidence to prove that Smith intentionally started the fire.

While several structures were threatened during the fire, none were damage or destroyed.

Scores of firefighters responded to the fire.

Pilot Killed In Crash Of Contract Military Aircraft Near Pt. Mugu

KVTA News Wednesday October 29, 2014

(Above photo courtesy of Billy Roper)

(Photo courtesy Rocio Sanchez)

Updated-A privately operated military type aircraft crashed and burned in a field near Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu Wednesday afternoon, killing the pilot who was the only person on board.

The crash was reported around 5:15 PM in the approach area east of the Navy base between Wood Road, Hueneme Road, and PCH.

Ventura County Fire Captain Mike Lindbery told KVTA News from the scene, the pilot was killed.

He also confirmed that the plane was a British designed Hawker Hunter aircraft operated by a private contractor with the Navy.

There were initial reports by firefighters at the scene that the pilot had ejected and that a parachute was spotted, but Lindbery says they believe now that the ejection seat and parachute might have been thrown from the plane as it crashed.

Because the ejection seat might not have deployed, fire crews who had knocked down the fire immediately backed off because the explosive devices used for the ejection seat might still activate.

In May 2012, a Hawker Hunter aircraft operated by a private contractor with the Navy also crashed not far from this crash, also killing the pilot.

Authorities Raid "Hony Oil" Lab In Ventura Home

KVTA News Wednesday October 29, 2014


Detectives from the west county narcotic task force concluded an investigation Wednesday with the search of a Ventura home and the arrest of one person.

The authorities say they were acting on information that a concentrated cannabis "honey oil" extraction lab was located in the house in the 400 block of Valmore Avenue.

Around 11 AM Wednesday morning detectives and officers served a search warrant at the residence and discovered two ounces of the marijuana extract and a pound of marijuana.

They say they contacted the suspect, 30-year-old Rudy Rico, away from the home and took him into custody.

Detectives say they also learned that three young children and their mother lived in the home and the children were removed by Child Protective Services.

The authorities say during the search, the Ventura City Fire Department was called in because of what they say was the danger of flammable gas used to extract the THC from the marijuana.

Deputy Killed In Camarillo Traffic Incident

KVTA News Tuesday October 28, 2014

(Photo of Deputy Kostiuchenko VCSD)

(Photo of incident scene by KVTA's Jack Clarke)

This updates our earlier stories--An 11-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department was killed while on duty early Tuesday when he was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver in Camarillo.

Deputy Eugene Kostiuchenko had just completed a traffic stop on the northbound 101 near Lewis Road around 1:15 AM and was outside of his vehicle when another vehicle hit him.

The 41-year-old Kostiuchenko died at the scene.

Meanwhile, the driver of the vehicle that hit him fled the scene but crashed on the Las Posas Road off ramp from northbound 101.

That driver, 25-year-old Kevin Hogrefe from Camarillo, was arrested for vehicular manslaughter, felony hit and run and felony DUI.

The incident shut down the Lewis Road on and off ramps from the northbound 101, the Las Posas Road off ramp from the northbound 101 and Daily Drive between Lewis and Arneill Roads while deputies and CHP officers conducted their investigation.

The ramps were still closed as of 9:45 AM.

Sheriff Dean told KVTA News that Kostiuchenko lived in Camarillo and immigrated to the United States from Ukraine and was an 11-year veteran of the department who was working out of the Camarillo station.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Dean says Kostiuchenko was a great runner who participated in several long distance running events involving the department.

Suspect In Residential Burglary Try Arrested In Ventura

KVTA News Monday October 27, 2014

Ventura police say they arrested a suspect in the attempted burglary of an occupied home Monday afternoon.

Around 3:11 PM, police received a call from a woman who told them a man was trying to break into her home in the 200 block of Roosevelt Avenue.

She said the suspect tried to get into the home through a rear sliding glass door, but could not because the door had been secured to prevent a break in.

The woman told police when the suspect saw her, he ran and was spotted by a neighbor who also called police to report what was happening.

A motorcycle officer patrolling the area spotted the suspect in the 7600 block of Loma Vista Road and detained him until the suspect could be positively identified.

Police arrested 28-year-old Brandon McCracken, who they described as a vagrant, and he was booked into the Ventura County Jail for attempted residential burglary.

Mistrial Declared In Ventura County Murder Trial

KVTA News Monday October 27, 2014

A Ventura County murder trial came to an abrupt halt Monday because of a problem with the defense receiving certain DNA evidence.

The judge declared a mistrial in the case of 25-year-old Rogelio Reyes of Oxnard who was on trial for murder in the January 2011 shooting death of 26-year-old George Huizar of Oxnard.

Huizar's body was found near an agricultural field in Camarillo in January of 2011.

The mistrial was declared after defense attorneys raised objections claiming that the prosecution had violated the rule that governs each side turning over evidence to the other side, known as discovery.

The judge ruled that there had been no prosecutorial misconduct and there had been no bad faith efforts in the case, but nonetheless there had been late discovery of DNA evidence.

With that, the judge declared a mistrial, dismissed the jury with the thanks of the court, and set Friday as the date to pick a new jury and start the trial all over again.

Gas Line Ruptured At Camarillo Construction Site

KVTA News Monday October 27, 2014

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Fire Department)

Updated--Southern California Gas Company crews secured a ruptured 2-inch natural gas pipeline in west Camarillo Monday afternoon.

The Ventura County Fire Department says the line was ruptured around 1:50 PM on a construction site in the 600 block of Spring Oak Road, which is an area west of Las Posas Road, south of Ponderosa and north of the 101 Freeway.

Hazmat crews responded to monitor gas concentrations in the air and stand by in case anything happened.

People in the immediate area were told to shelter in place while deputies conducted traffic control.

Around 4:34 PM, gas company crews secured the leak and the incident was over.

Jury Deliberations Begin In Oxnard Murder, Rape, Robbery Trial

KVTA News Monday October 27, 2014

Jury deliberations began Monday afternoon in the trial of a man accused of raping two workers at an Oxnard massage business and killing the manager of another during a robbery.

31-year-old Jose Ochoa is facing life in prison without the chance of parole if he is convicted of the murder, rape, and robbery charges against him.

Ochoa is accused of sexually assaulting two women at the Tokyo Spa on Saviers Road in Oxnard in February 2010 during a robbery at the massage business.

Ochoa is accused of fatally shooting 59-year-old Sun Cha Kays, the manager of the A-1 Spa on C Street in Oxnard, during a robbery two days later at that business.

Closing arguments were presented by both sides Monday and the jury received the case Monday afternoon.

They deliberated briefly before recessing for the day and will return Tuesday morning to resume those deliberations.

Ventura PD Recovers Stolen Vehicle At Donut Shop

KVTA News Monday October 27, 2014

Ventura police are crediting an alert friend with the return of a stolen vehicle to its rightful owner.
They say around 8 AM Monday morning, Ventura police got a call from a person who said he had spotted his friend's stolen vehicle parked in front of Master's Donuts at 1725 S. Victoria Avenue.
Police responded, determined it was indeed a stolen vehicle and arrested the man in the driver's seat, 24-year-old Pablo Reyes of Ventura.
Reyes was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and for violating his Post Release Offender status.
Meanwhile, a second person who was in the vehicle was arrested for an an outstanding warrant.
The vehicle was returned to its owner.
No one was hurt.

Ventura police are crediting an alert friend with the return of a stolen vehicle to its rightful owner.

They say around 8 AM Monday morning, Ventura police got a call from a person who said he had spotted his friend's stolen vehicle parked in front of Master's Donuts at 1725 S. Victoria Avenue.

Police responded, determined it was indeed a stolen vehicle and arrested the man in the driver's seat, 24-year-old Pablo Reyes of Ventura.

Reyes was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and for violating his Post Release Offender status.

Meanwhile, a second person who was in the vehicle was arrested for an an outstanding warrant.

The vehicle was returned to its owner.

No one was hurt.

Gasoline Prices Continue To Fall In Ventura County

KVTA News Monday October 27, 2014

Gasoline prices continue to fall in Ventura County.

As of Monday morning, the Triple A Fuel Gauge Survey says the average price for regular gasoline in the county was $3.39 a gallon.

That is down by more than ten cents over the past week, and it's more than 30 cents less than it was a month ago and a year ago.

According to Gas Buddy, there are several places in Ventura County where gasoline is being sold for as low as $3.15 to $3.20 a gallon.

This all goes along with what has been a dramatic drop in gasoline prices nationwide where the national average is hovering just above $3.00 a gallon.

Meanwhiile, the average price of diesel fuel in Ventura County is also down, but remains much higher than gasoline.

The Triple A survey shows the average for diesel in the county is around $3.82 a gallon, about four cents below last year, eight cents down from a month ago, and about 22 cents lower than a year ago.

OPD Makes Arrest In Carjacking

KVTA News Monday October 27, 2014

Oxnard police say they've made an arrest in a carjacking and robbery that took place Sunday night.

They say that around 8:48 PM, officers responded to a report of a carjacking in the 400 block of Pleasant Valley Road.

The victim reported being confronted by a lone suspect armed with a gun who took the victim's Mercedes sedan and cell phone.

The victim also reported a possible suspect vehicle, a Lincoln Town Car, seen leaving the scene.

Police say they quickly located both vehicles parked together in the 1300 block of Commercial Avenue.

As officers approached the vehicles, two possible suspects fled on foot into the mobile home park there.

Police caught one of the suspects, 20-year-old Dennis Cervantes of Oxnard.

Several other people were arrested at the mobile home park for outstanding warrants.

No one was hurt.