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KVTA Local News

Mountain Lions In SM Mountains Face Extinction

KVTA News Tuesday August 30, 2016

(Photos courtesy National Park Service)

A paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society concludes that the mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains face the possibility of extinction in the near future if nothing is done to increase genetic diversity and reduce inbreeding.

Researchers from the National Park Service, UCLA, UC Davis and Utah State University using information from a long term study by the NPS developed a population viability model to evaluate how likely the local population is to persist under a variety of scenarios.

Despite the pessimistic outlook, they do say the current population is vigorous with stable population growth and healthy rates of survival and reproduction.

The problem is that the mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains is isolated by freeways and urban growth and as a result there is a lack of genetic diversity that could result in a rapid decline over the next half century.

The model developed by the researchers says there is a 99.7% chance of extinction in the next 50 years.

The proposed solution is controversial.

It would involve creating a wildlife crossing on the 101 Freeway in the Conejo Valley. 

One of the researchers involved in the study will offer comments during the news on the KVTA Morning Show starting at 5 AM Wednesday morning on AM 1590.

Laut Loses Bid For Bail Pending Appeal

KVTA News Tuesday August 30, 2016

Jane Laut lost her bid to be free while she appeals her conviction in the murder of her husband.

A judge Tuesday denied a defense request to release the Oxnard woman on bail pending the outcome of her case in the State Court of Appeal.

Earlier this year, Laut was convicted of murder in the August 2009 shooting death of her husband Dave at their Oxnard home.

She was immediately placed in custody following the verdict and was later sentenced to 50-years-to-life in prison.

The same judge also denied her request for a new trial based on the defense contention that the trial court had improperly limited the scope of the testimony for a defense expert during the trial regarding the issue of spousal abuse.

Laut's defense team is planning to appeal her conviction on that issue and other grounds and they had asked the court to allow her to be free on bail pending that appeal.

That's the request that was rejected by the judge Tuesday.

Tuesday the judge also ordered Laut to be handed over to the California Department of Corrections to begin her state prison sentence.

Oxnard Names New Police Chief

KVTA News Tuesday August 30, 2016

Oxnard's new Police Chief is no stranger to the department or the city.

Scott Whitney will take over as Oxnard Police Chief for Chief Jeri Williams who is leaving Oxnard to become the Chief of Police in Phoenix, Arizona.

Whitney is a 25-year veteran of the Oxnard Police Department and served nine years as Assistant Police Chief before serving as Assistant City Manager.

City Manager Greg Nyhoff named Whitney as the new Chief saying that he's the first chief in many decades that was actually born and raised in Oxnard.

Whitney has a bachelor's degree in business administration at the University of Oregon, and a master's degree in public administration from Cal State Northridge. 

Whitney will take over as Police Chief on September 16th.

Simi PD Warns Of Phony Kidnap Phone Scam

KVTA News Tuesday August 30, 2016

Simi Valley police say that now along with all the other telephone scams going on these days, con artists are trying to rip people off by making phony calls claiming to have kidnapped a family member.

Police say they've received some calls from people in Simi Valley saying it's happened to them.

The person who makes the call to an unsuspecting victim claims they have the person's family member and they threaten to kill the "kidnap victim" unless a ransom is paid.

Police say in most cases the scammer doesn't know enough personal information to fool the victim into thinking the threat is real.

But in some cases they do know enough to create concern on the part of the victim that it might be true.

The scammer also creates the illusion that the victim is being watched.

If the con artist succeeds he gets the victim to wire the "ransom" money to a predetermined location, in many cases Mexico City.

Police say if you're the victim of such a call and realize it's an obvious scam, end the call in any manner you see fit and the call police immediately and report it.

Simi police also say that if you think the kidnap threat is real, call 911 as soon as possible and report it.

Simi PD maintains a Fraud Information Line that has a recorded message that updates the public on this and the many other telephone scams that are currently going around. 

That number is (805) 583-6170.

Suspected Car Thief Arrested In Ventura

KVTA News Tuesday August 30, 2016

 Ventura police say they've arrested a man who was driving a stolen vehicle through the city late Tuesday morning.

Around 11:40 AM an officer spotted a suspicious vehicle near Mills Road and Main Street and conducted a registration check.

Police say the vehicle was reported stolen out of Oxnard.

The officer tried to conduct a traffic stop but the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed, passing other vehicles by going the wrong way down city streets.

The officer decided not to pursue the vehicle for safety reasons.

Several minutes later, a second officer spotted the vehicle near Main Street and Hurst Avenue.

This time the suspect driver tried to elude the officer by turning sharply onto Hurst Avenue where he lost control of the vehicle and it crashed into a utility pole.

The suspect then fled on foot into a residential area but police set up a perimeter and brought in the K-9 and the suspect was taken into custody a short time later.

Police say 26-year-old Bruno Vasquez, who they described as a vagrant, was arrested for possession of the stolen vehicle, reckless driving and resisting arrest.

There were no injuries in the incident.

Pharmacy Burglar Caught In The Act In Camarillo

KVTA News Tuesday August 30, 2016

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department says a burglary suspect was caught in the act early Tuesday morning in Camarillo.

They say that shortly before 1 AM deputies responded to an alarm call at the Vu Pharmacy in the 400 block of Arneill Road in the Ponderosa Shopping Center.

When they arrived, they found an adult male in the pharmacy and he was taken into custody.

It's uncertain if this incident is connected to other pharmacy burglaries in Ventura County in recent months.

Pharmacies have become targets for burglars seeking powerful prescription drugs to sell them on the black market.

No other details of Tuesday morning's arrest have been released yet.

No Ban On September Visiting At Todd Road Jail

KVTA News Monday August 29, 2016

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department has reversed its plan to ban inmate visiting hours at the Todd Road Jail near Santa Paula next month while the parking lot is under construction.

They now say inmate visiting hours will remain unchanged while the parking lot construction takes place in September.

Last week they had said all visiting, with the exception of lawyers, medical staff and clergy, would be suspended from September 6th through September 27th because of the parking lot construction.

Now they say normal visiting hours and visiting days for the public will continue but with conditions regarding where and how you park.

Those conditions are...

The public is asked to park along the roadway in designated areas and not in construction zone areas. There will be designated signs and pedestrian pathways to the Public Reception area. Drop-offs are allowed and encouraged due to the limited available parking.

Family and friends wishing to place money on inmate accounts are asked to do so at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura or at the East County Jail facility in Thousand Oaks (exact change-cash only). The Todd Road Jail Public Reception will be open to accept deposits on a limited basis.

Visit and click on the “Inmate Information” tab, on the homepage, for further details regarding inmate visiting.

Man Sentenced In Fatal DUI Crash Near Moorpark

KVTA News Monday August 29, 2016

A Culver City man was sentenced Monday to four years and four months in prison for a fatal DUI crash near Moorpark a year ago.

33-year-old Andres Dominguezramirez had earlier pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony DUI causing injury in connection with the crash that happened on July 19, 2015 on Highway 118 (LA Avenue) east of Hitch Boulevard just outside the Moorpark city limits.

He also admitted several special allegations and enhancements related to the crash that killed his passenger and injured eight people in the other vehicle, including five children ages 6-14 at the time of the crash.

The CHP says Dominguezramirez was westbound on the 118 in a 2002 Chevy Cavalier in the rain when his vehicle went out of control, spun into the eastbound lane and collided with a 2014 Chrysler Town and Country with the three adults and five children that was eastbound.

The crash caused the Chrysler to overturn.

The eight people in the Chrysler, all from Las Vegas, suffered injuries ranging from minor to moderate.

Dominguezramirez suffered major injuries and his passenger, a 30-year-old male, also from Culver City, was killed.

Ventura Doctor Accused In Prescription Drug Case

KVTA News Monday August 29, 2016

The United States Attorney's Office says that a doctor from Ventura is one of two doctors arrested last week for allegedly prescribing narcotics and sedatives illegally.

The Department of Justice says that 64-year-old Edward Ridgill of Ventura operated a cash business out of an office in Lynnwood.

A federal criminal complaint alleges that Ridgill wrote 21,000 prescriptions over a three year period for such drugs as hydrocodone, codeine, alprazolam and carisoprodol at or near maximum strength.

It alleges that Ridgill deposited $500,000 in cash into his bank accounts over less than three years.

The U-S Attorney's Office says the doctors were caught in an undercover operation during which they are alleged to have sold prescriptions for cash fees while in most cases never conducting an exam.

The undercover operation was part of a federal sweep that targeted members and associates of the East Coast Crips criminal street gang.

Ridgill surrendered to the authorities Friday and was released on bond pending a September 15th arraignment in federal court.

Five Arrests At Oxnard DUI Checkpoint

KVTA News Monday August 29, 2016

Five drivers were arrested at a DUI checkpoint operated jointly by the CHP and Oxnard police in Oxnard Saturday night and Sunday morning.

The CHP says the checkpoint was on southbound Victoria Avenue at Teal Club Road near Oxnard Airport.

It ran from 9:30 PM Saturday night through 3 AM Sunday morning.

The CHP says 643 drivers were screened and 15 of those drivers underwent field sobriety tests with five of them arrested for DUI alcohol or drugs.

DUI checkpoints and other DUI related enforcement programs are underway by several law enforcement agencies in Ventura County through the Labor Day Weekend.

"Rey Fire" 54% Contained, Wx Forecast A Concern

KVTA News Saturday August 27, 2016

The 33,006 Acre "Rey Fire" in Santa Barbara County is 54% contained with no growth during the past day or so, but there is concern about the weather forecast for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Here's what the National Weather Service is saying...

"A northerly pressure gradient will bring gusty Sundowner winds to portions of Santa Barbara County Sunday through Tuesday, including the western foothills of the South Coast and the Santa Ynez Range. Northwest to North winds are expected late Sunday afternoon through Monday with gusts 30 to 40 mph, shifting to the north to northeast Monday night through Tuesday night. As very dry fuels are in place, the gusty winds will likely result in rapid growth and extreme fire behavior with any ignition that occurs. In addition, gusty cross-winds may result in dangerous driving conditions on Highway 101 west of Goleta. All interior sections will see above normal temperatures and low humidities through Tuesday."

Meanwhile, the authorities have issued a road closure for Gibraltar Road...

The Rey Fire Unified Command in conjunction with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office will be allowing only residents on Gibraltar Road as of 5pm August 27th 2016.

The road will remain closed to the public, and anyone not affiliated with the suppression actions, so that firefighting personnel and equipment are protected as they continue to utilize the road to access the fire. Anyone inside the closure area will be subject to citation.

All additional road closures, are still in effect.

More information on the road closures can be found at

DUI, Speed, No Seatbelt Suspected In Simi Fatal

KVTA News Saturday August 27, 2016

(Photo courtesy SVPD)

Simi Valley police say one person was killed in a solo vehicle crash where DUI is suspected and the victim was apparently not wearing his seatbelt.

It happened in the early morning hours Saturday on Madera Road where the "Welcome to Simi Valley" sign is located west of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Police say that the vehicle struck the center divider curb and that sign and then overturned.

They say the driver, who was apparently not wearing his seatbelt, was ejected from his vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

He is described as a 30-year-old Simi Valley resident.

Police say that while the investigation is continuing, "the use of alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the collision as well as the speed of the vehicle."

The crash and investigation closed that stretch of Madera Road for 9 hours Saturday morning.

It's the 5th traffic fatality of 2016 in the city of Simi Valley.

Police also say it's the second fatal crash involving a young man where DUI was suspected and no seatbelt was worn. 

Investigators believe both young men would have survived their crashes had they been wearing seatbelts.

Firefighters Extinguish Camarillo Garage Fire

KVTA News Friday August 26, 2016

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Fire Department)

Updated---Ventura County firefighters knocked down a garage fire in Camarillo Friday.

It was reported around 5:48 PM in the 1100 block of Lantana Street.

When firefighters arrived on scene, they found smoke and flames coming from a garage attached to a two story single family home.

Crews also had a report of someone trapped in the house but that turned out NOT to be true.

Firefighters attacked the garage fire and had it out about a half hour later.

It was confined to the garage.

No injuries were reported.

Cause of the fire was under investigation.

Two Men Shot In Oxnard

KVTA News Friday August 26, 2016

(Photo courtesy Adrian Viveros Juarez)

Oxnard police are investigating a shooting incident late Thursday night that left two men wounded.

Shortly before 11:30 PM, officers responded to a reported shooting in the area of First Street and Garfield Street in the Colonia section of town.

They found two adult males suffering from what police say were non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

One of the victims was treated at the scene while the other went to the hospital to be treated.

Police say they are no suspects or motive for the shootings.

Crime scene investigators processed the scene while Major Crimes detectives began their investigation into the incident.