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KVTA Local News

"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."

Alcohol beverages, however, were not found in 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.

No Inmate Visiting At Todd Road Jail Next Month

KVTA News Thursday August 25, 2016

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department says that there will be no visiting inmates at the Todd Road Jail facility near Santa Paula for much of September.

That's because of parking lot construction.

The ban on visiting will start on September 6th, the day after Labor Day, and it will last through September 27th.

Lawyers, medical staff and clergy will NOT be impacted.

They will be asked to park in designated areas along the roadway.

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 in Thousand Oaks (exact change-cash only).

However, the Todd Road Public Reception will be open to accept deposits on a limited basis during construction.

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

Elderly Man Displaced By Oxnard House Fire

KVTA News Thursday August 25, 2015

(Photo courtesy Oxnard Fire Department)

The Oxnard Fire Department says an elderly man has been displaced by a fire that broke out in his home that was packed with his belongings.

The fire broke out shortly before noon Thursday on Occidental Avenue and when firefighters arrived they saw smoke pouring out of the single story, single family home.

The fire was confined to contents in the living room.

The man got out of the house with minor smoke inhalation and was treated at the scene.

Fire officials say that either an electrical malfunction or unattended candle started the blaze in the home that they say was already unsafe because of the amount of items and materials stored inside.

They also say there was no working smoke alarm.

The house was yellow tagged by Code Enforcement and they say it will be some time, if ever, before the house can be re-occupied.

Meanwhile, Social Service workers were called in to help the man find place to live.

Suspect Arrested After Chase Through Oxnard

KVTA News Thusrday Auguts 25, 2016

(Photo courtesy Oxnard PD)

Updated---Oxnard police say they arrested a gang member following a vehicle chase and then foot pursuit through the heart of the city late Thursday afternoon.

They say the incident began around 5:45 PM with a report of an individual seen placing a handgun into a vehicle in the 600 block of E. Iris Street.

When officers arrived, the subject and vehicle were gone but they had a description of the vehicle.

Police say the vehicle was spotted a short time later in the area of Ventura Road and Hill Street.

They say officers tried to stop the vehicle but it continued northbound through the city at a high rate of speed using J Street, then H Street, and then G Street.

Police say the vehicle was pursued to the area of Ivywood Drive and N. C Street where it crashed into another vehicle.

Police say the suspect abandoned the vehicle leaving behind a gun and ammunition.

The suspect then fled on foot to the 1200 block Camelot Way.

Officers set up a perimeter, brought in K-9 Jax, and then began a yard-to-yard search.

About a half hour later, the K-9 found the suspect hiding in a room in the detached garage of a residence.

Police say that 32-year-old Brandon Guerra of Oxnard was taken into custody without further incident.

Guerra, who they say is a documented gang member, was arrested for being a felon in possession of a loaded handgun and ammunition, evading officers and hit and run driving.

There were no injuries reported.

Suspect In Thousand Oaks Grand Theft Sought

KVTA News Thursday August 25, 2016

Deputies in Thousand Oaks are asking for public help in identifying the suspect in a recent grand theft.

They say that at 1:30 PM last Sunday the suspect entered the AT&T store at 180 N. Moorpark Road.

Deputies say video surveillance captured him concealing merchandise in a shopping bag and leaving the store without paying for it.

They say the stolen items totaled more than $1,000.

The Thousand Oaks Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying this grand theft suspect depicted in the attached image.

The suspect is described as a white male, 55-65 years old, 6’0”, 180lbs., receding brown hair, a dark colored Hawaiian style shirt, blue jeans and black or brown shoes.

If you have any information on this crime, please contact Thousand Oaks Police Detective Michael Purnell at (805) 494-8219.

Wildfires Keep Crews Busy In Santa Barbara County

KVTA News Wednesday August 24, 2016

(Photo courtesy Mike Elliason, SB County Fire of fire "Bar Fire")

Firefighters were kept extra busy in Santa Barbara County Wednesday as they worked to contain the week-old "Rey Fire" as another wildfire broke out.

The "Bar Fire" was reported around 3:30 PM in Venadito Canyon north of the 101 Freeway off Refugio Road.

It burned about 20 acres before crews on the ground, aided by water-dropping helicopters and fixed-wig aircraft dropping fire retardant stopped its forward progress.

Evacuation orders for that rural area were issued and then rescinded as crews got the upper hand on the blaze.

Meanwhile, crews continue to battle the "Rey Fire" which has grown to 31,505 acres and is now 37% contained.

It broke out a week ago north of Paradise Road in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Crews have been able to contain the fire on its west and south flanks but the north and east flanks are still active, although the rate of growth in the past couple of days has slowed wiith cooler temperatures and higher humidity.

Lemon Truck Crash Sours Traffic On 126 In Ventura

KVTA News Wednesday August 24, 2016

(Photo courtesy Michael Medart)

Updated---The CHP says a big rig truck and trailer hauling 64,000 pounds of lemons overturned Wednesday afternoon blocking the EB 126 and the on ramp to EB 126 at Wells Road in Ventura.

The crash happened shortly before 3:30 PM and caused a significant backup on the EB 126 and NB Wells Road.

EB traffic squeezed through using the center divider, but the backup EB was past Kimball Road in Ventura.

WB 126 was not impacted.

NB Wells Road (Hwy 118-LA Ave) was backed up to Rose Avenue because the on ramp to EB 126 was blocked.

After a few hours they reopened the left lane of EB 126 but the right lane and both on ramps from Wells Road remained closed until about 10:30 PM.

Carjacking Suspect Arrested In West Ventura

KVTA News Wednesday August 24, 2016

Ventura police say they now have three of four suspects in custody in connection with a violent carjacking that happened near Ventura College in April.

In that incident, a 44-year-old Thousand Oaks man was talking with two young women while parked in the alley behind the College Square shopping center in the 100 block of N. Ashwood around 7:30 PM on April 15th.

That's when two males arrived, beat up the victim and the two males and females fled in his car.

Ventura police say Major Crimes detectives developed information on three of the four suspects.

The two female suspects, 19-year-old Amanda Donovan of Thousand Oaks and 18-year-old Amber Donovan of Thousand Oaks, had been arrested in late April on warrants.

The victim's vehicle turned up in Los Angeles in early May.

Then today (Wednesday) Ventura police spotted a vehicle in west Ventura that they say contained one of the two male suspects.

A high risk stop was conducted at Kellogg and Ventura Avenue and 24-year-old William Shehee of Ventura, was taken into custody. 

The final suspect, the second male, has not been identified.

Santa Paula Man Arrested For East Ventura Robbery

KVTA News Wednesday August 24, 2016

Ventura police say they arrested a Santa Paula man for robbery and other charges in connection with an incident Wednesday morning in east Ventura.

They say around 10:40 AM the victim returned to his vehicle that was parked in the 11100 of Citrus Drive to find the suspect inside the vehicle in the process of stealing two cell phones.

The suspect fled but the victim gave chase and during the foot pursuit police say the suspect pepper sprayed the victim.

Police say a concerned citizen witnessed what was happening and tried to help, but the suspect pepper sprayed him.

The suspect then dropped the stolen cell phones and fled.

Officers arrived and while looking for the suspect and investigating the incident discovered that the suspect had apparently abandoned what turned out to be a stolen vehicle near where the original incident took place.

That's when the suspect showed up and they chased him and caught him.

Police arrested 29-year-old Raymond Gonzalez of Santa Paula.

Meanwhile, the Good Samaritan who tried to help was taken to VCMC to be treated for a medical complication related to being pepper sprayed.

Rey Fire Approaches 30,000 Acres

KVTA News Tuesday August 23, 2016

(Photo courtesy USFS)

The "Rey Fire" in Santa Barbara County was put at 29,664 acres Tuesday morning.

Fire officials say it's 30% contained.

They expect what they describe as "extreme burning" on the fire's eastern flank as it moves towards the Dick Smith Wilderness" area.

There are more than 1400 personnel assigned to the fire.

The steep, rugged, terrain limits the ability to build containment lines so a lot of the containment will be based on allowing the fire to burn to natural fire breaks.

In this case, the fire has approached the area burned out by the 2007 Zaca Fire.

Aircraft, including water-dropping helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft dropping fire retardant.

The fire started last Thursday north of Paradise Road in the Santa Ynez Valley and has burned mainly in remote areas.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

So far it's not been a threat to populated areas but wind shifts have sent smoke and ash towards southern Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

Major Sex Trafficking Ring Busted

KVTA News Tuesday August 23, 2016

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Sheriff's Department)

The authorities say that a sophisticated sex trafficking operation that kept more than two dozen Chinese women in what amounted to slavery at motels throughout Central and Southern California has been brought down following a six month investigation that began in Ventura County.

Five people from Los Angeles County have been arrested and millions of dollars seized in connection with the human trafficking organization that conducted business through Internet ads.

The victims, women in their 30's and 40's, were brought into the United States on what appeared to be legitimate visas and then forced to work providing sex to customers at motels in eight California counties, including Ventura County.

It was a prostitution sting at one of those motels in Ventura County that morphed into a major local, state and federal agency investigation into the organization that operated like a well organized company.

Ventura County authorities say the leaders of the sex ring allegedly laundered the profits through real estate transactions while the victims were beaten and abused and mired in debt created by charging them for the basic necessities of life plus the costs of conducting business.

The authorities say most of the victims spoke little or no English and were forced to work from early morning until late at night, never being allowed the leave the motel room.

The five suspects who were arrested in connection with operating and controlling the operation were identified by the authorities as 40-year-old Hsin Chieh "Jerry" Wang of Covina, 33-year-old Defung Hu of San Gabriel, 42-year-old Yiwen Wang of Covina, 63-year-old Jiuyin Cui of Rosemead, and, 32-year-old Runan Xia of Alambra.

All were booked into the Ventura County Jail on $5 million bail each.

Laut Sentenced To 50-Years-To-Life In Prison

KVTA News Tuesday August 23, 2016

(Photo by Alex Wilson, KVTA News of Laut family and prosecutor at courthouse)

The Oxnard woman convicted of killing her Olympic medalist husband seven years ago was sentenced Tuesday to 50-years-to-life in prison.

A jury had earlier found 59-year-old Jane Laut guilty of first degree murder in the August 2007 shooting death of her husband Dave Laut at their Oxnard home.

She had claimed the killing was in self defense after years of spousal abuse but the jury did not buy that story.

Dave Laut's family was in court and spoke at the Tuesday sentencing hearing saying his good name had been dragged through the mud in a defense effort to justify what had happened.

The sentencing came a day after the defense lost a bid to seek a new trial on the basis of an appellate court ruling in another case regarding the scope of expert witness testimony on the issue of spousal abuse.

The defense still plans to appeal the conviction and sentence on several grounds.

Santa Barbara County's Rey Fire 27,096 Acres

KVTA News Monday August 22, 2016

(Photo by Mike Eliason, SB County Fire shows Ventura County Copter 6 against a massive smoke cloud from the Rey Fire)

**Updated---Drift smoke from the "Rey Fire" could impact Ventura County**

Updated--The "Rey Fire" in Santa Barbara County has grown to 27,096 acres as of Monday evening.

It is 30% contained with its most active and explosive flank heading east and northeast towards the Dick Smith Wilderness area.

Almost 1400 personnel are assigned to the fire with nighttime efforts limited by the steep, rugged terrain.

Daytime operations are dominated by retardant-dropping fixed wing aircraft, including a DC-10, and water-dropping helicopters including one from Ventura County.

Evacuation orders remain in effect for the campgrounds north of Paradise Road near where the fire started on Thursday afternoon.

The fire continues to produce massive smoke clouds that can be seen over a wide area, but officials say it is still burning in remote areas far away from population centers.

Cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Deputies Check Up On Registered Sex Offenders

KVTA News Monday August 22, 2016

Ventura County Sheriff's deputies spent Saturday checking up on registered sex offenders in several areas of the county.

They conducted compliance checks from 8 AM to 2 PM in Fillmore, Ojai, Thousand Oaks and Moorpark as well as the unincorporated areas near those contract cities.

They checked up on 37 registered sex offenders to make sure they were living where they were supposed to and were in compliance with the terms and conditions of their sex offender status.

Of the 37, 35 were verified to be in compliance.

Deputies say of the two others, one of them, 58-year-old Robert Chrysler of Ojai was allegedly found to be out of compliance and arrested for the felony offense of failing to report that he had moved.

The other person was not located because he had moved and deputies will do follow up to see if he is out of compliance.

These compliance check sweeps are conducted in every jurisdiction in the county on a regular basis and are financed through a special grant that can only be used for doing this.

Residents can check up on registered sex offenders by using the Megan's Law website

Ojai Woman Arrested For DUI In Wrong Way Crash

KVTA News Monday August 22, 2016

The California Highway Patrol says an Ojai woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI-alcohol following a wrong way driving traffic collision on the 101 Freeway in Santa Barbara Sunday night.

They say it happened as the vehicle driven by 22-year-old Amanda Rose Valenzuela of Ojai was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of the 101 starting around Garden Street in Santa Barbara around 8:14 PM.

The CHP alleges that her vehicle caused or was involved in several vehicle crashes just south of Mission Street.

They say Valenzuela was the most seriously injured person in the incident, receiving moderate injuries when her vehicle collided head on with another vehicle.

She was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where she was arrested by the CHP.

The drivers of five other vehicles, including residents of Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Clarita, and San Francisco, either had minor injuries or were not injured in the incident. 

The incident blocked the middle and left lanes of the SB 101 at Mission for about a half hour Sunday night.