SMPD and SBPD to hold DUI checkpoint
SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Maria Police Department will hold a DUI checkpoint tonight from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location within city limits.
During the checkpoint, officers will look for signs that drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The location, while undisclosed, was chosen based on a history of DUI crashes and arrests in the area.
“The safety of our community is and always will be our mission,” Sergeant Michael McGehee said in a statement. “We are still out there in the middle of a pandemic because driving under the influence is still dangerous and puts a further strain on critical resources.”
Another DUI checkpoint will be conducted by the Santa Barbara Police Department next Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. at an undisclosed location within city limits.
Both the SMPD and the SBPD remind the public that driving impaired is not just from alcohol. Certain prescription medications or over the counter drugs can also interfere with driving, and the SBPD cautions the public to follow all warning labels and directions for use. In addition, though medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal.
— Madison Hirneisen
Left turn lane project to begin next week
BUELLTON — Caltrans will begin a new construction project Monday to install a new left-turn lane on State Route 246 at the Foley Estates between Campbell Road East and Drum Canyon Road near Buellton.
Crews will be working to widen the southbound side of State Route 246, resulting in road work Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Travelers will encounter a lane shift during their commute and flaggers will maintain traffic control. Delays are not expected to exceed 15 minutes.
The project will include the extension of two existing culverts, the reconstruction of overside drains and improvements to slopes, according to a news release from Caltrans.
For information on traffic delays and updates, motorists can call Caltrans District 5 at (805) 549-3318 or visit the District 5 website at dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-5.
— Madison Hirneisen
SMPD recovers firearms from suspected gang associate
SANTA MARIA — The Santa Maria Police Department detectives and the Special Enforcement Team recovered multiple weapons from a known gang associate on Thursday afternoon after searching the man’s car and apartment.
Edgardo Carballo-Rivera, a 19-year-old Santa Maria resident, was arrested and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on Thursday after police found him in possession of a loaded Polymer 80 handgun and an AR-style pistol. Both weapons are considered “ghost guns” due to their lack of serial numbers.
Mr. Rivera was booked for child endangerment, felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, possession of an assault weapon and a violation of probation.
The SMPD is continuing its efforts to remove firearms from those who are illegally possessing them. Anyone with information related to illegal firearms is encouraged to contact (805) 928-3781 extension 2277 or the tip line at (805) 928-3781 XCOPS (2677).
— Madison Hirneisen
Man charged with sexual assault
Arian Eteghaei has been charged with several counts of sexual assault as the result of an ongoing joint investigation by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office and the UCSB Police Department.
UCPD detectives have identified several sexual assault victims/survivors, according to a news release Friday from the District Attorney’s Office.
UCPD detectives believe that there may be additional victims/survivors or witnesses who have not yet been located or contacted. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Santa Barbara County District Attorney investigator Judith Hall at 805-568-2360.
“The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office is well aware that survivors of sexual assault and abuse are often reluctant to come forward for a variety of reasons,” said District Atttorney Joyce E. Dudley, who started the investigation into Mr. Eteghaei with UCPBD. “With that in mind, we have many resources available through our Victim/Witness Assistance Division where our advocates will endeavor to ensure that the needs of survivors are not overshadowed by our focus on the investigation and prosecution of the accused.
“Victim Advocates are also available to ensure that survivors are kept informed and supported throughout the criminal justice process,” she said.
Victims/survivors can contact the Victim-Witness Assistance Program directly at 805-568-2400 or toll free at 855-840-3232.
— Dave Mason