Wagner investigation report under review
SANTA BARBARA — It has been more than six weeks since the investigation was launched into the public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department, Anthony Wagner, following allegations about his conduct and involvement with cannabis dispensary licenses.
According to Santa Barbara Police Interim Chief Bernard Melekian, the draft of the report is currently being reviewed by the City Attorney’s Office. Earlier this week, Chief Melekian said that he expects the report to be finalized within the next week or two, and it will be released once it’s finalized.
Mr. Wagner has been placed on administrative leave since the article alleging his conflict of interest was published in Los Angeles Magazine, and the Santa Barbara Police Department retained the Sintra Group to conduct the investigation.
— Grayce McCormick
Three injured in big-rig collision
SANTA MARIA — Three people suffered moderate injuries Friday morning in a collision involving a big-rig and a small sedan in Santa Maria, authorities said.
The collision was reported just after 10 a.m. Friday in the area of Betteravia and Telephone roads. Two people were transported to a local hospital, while another person required heavy extrication before being transported for further treatment, said Capt. Daniel Bertucelli, spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Traffic restrictions were in place for a time following the collision, the cause of which is under investigation.
— Mitchell White
Bridge work to continue next week
BUELLTON — A project to widen the bridge and replace railing along Highway 101 near Buellton will result in full overnight closures in both directions of the 101 starting Sunday night through Saturday morning.
The work will be conducted from south of the Nojoqui Creek Bridge to south of the Santa Rosa Road overcrossing. It will begin at 9 p.m. Sunday and continue through 5 a.m. Saturday, according to Caltrans officials.
Motorists heading north will detour from the 101 at the Santa Rosa Road overcrossing to Avenue of the Flags before returning to the 101 at the State Route 246 interchange. Motorists heading south will detour from the 101 at the 246 to Avenue of the Flags before returning to the 101 at the Santa Rosa Road overcrossing. Delays are not expected to exceed 10 minutes, officials said.
In addition, one lane remains closed in both directions across the Nojoqui Creek bridge through the end of December.
The contractor for the $5 million project is Spectrum Construction Group of Irvine. Work is scheduled to be complete by spring of 2022.
— Mitchell White
Two police officers injured during arrest
SANTA BARBARA — Two Santa Barbara Police officers were injured during the arrest of a Goleta man who had five active warrants for his arrest, police said.
Around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, detectives were in the area of 300 West Mission Street conducting follow-up to an investigation. Detectives recognized a suspect, later identified as Jose Miguel Gonzlez, 30, who matched the description of a wanted person. Mr. Gonzalez tried to conceal himself and fled on foot after police attempted to detain him, said Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale, police spokesman.
Detectives gave chase and apprehended Mr. Gonzalez in the 300 block of West Pedregosa Street. While attempting to detain him, detectives noticed he was reaching in his waistband.
“Gonzalez actively resisted Detectives, however they were able to control his movements and handcuff him safely,” Sgt. Ragsdale said. “Two Officers were injured during the struggle. Several other Officers and Detectives arrived on scene to assist.”
During the arrest, detectives located a loaded handgun concealed in Mr. Gonzalez’s waistband. Detectives also located a hidden fixed-blade knife, narcotics, burglary tools and drug paraphernalia. Police later determined Mr. Gonzales was on active probation and has been convicted of felonies in the past, Sgt. Ragsdale said.
Mr. Gonzalez was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of resisting an officer with violence, being a felon in possession of a firearm and live ammunition, carrying a concealed dagger, possessing a firearm while prohibited and committing a felony while out on bail — all felonies.
He also faces misdemeanor charges of obstructing or delaying an officer, possession of narcotics and paraphernalia, and possession of burglary tools. He was also booked on the five outstanding warrants and is being held without bail.
— Mitchell White