Lanes to be closed
GOLETA/LOS OLIVOS — Tree trimming and brush clearing are taking place in Goleta and Los Olivos. And that means some lane and shoulder closures, starting Friday, on Highway 101 and State Routes 154 and 217.
Caltrans said motorists will find closures on Highway 101 near its junction with State Route 217 in Goleta, on State Route 217 near the entrance to Goleta Beach, and on Alamo Pintado Creek Bridge on State Route 154 in Los Olivos.
The contractor for this $388,000 project is JTS, Inc. of Arroyo Grande.
All phases of this roadwork are scheduled to be completed by February, according to Caltrans, which reminds motorists to slow down and, when required, move over in highway construction zones.
For traffic updates on other state highway projects in Santa Barbara County, call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805-549-3318 or visit dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-5/district-5-current-projects.
— Katherine Zehnder
Former deputy indicted
A former San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputy has been indicted on federal criminal charges — including one alleging that he dragged a county jail inmate by her hair on the ground from one cell into another cell.
The indictment also alleges that the former deputy — Joshua Fischer, 40, of Grover Beach — then obstructed a federal probe into his actions by lying about the incident in an official sheriff’s office report.
The Department of Justice announced the indictment on Wednesday.
Mr. Fischer is charged with a federal grand jury indictment with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of falsification of records. According to the indictment returned Tuesday, Mr. Fischer was a sworn law enforcement officer and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office senior correctional deputy assigned to work at the Intake Release Center in San Luis Obispo between January 2017 and December 2018.
On Nov. 18, 2018, Mr. Fischer allegedly used unreasonable force against a jail inmate who had removed her shirt, exited her cell, then returned to her cell. Upon the inmate returning to her cell, Mr. Fischer then allegedly grabbed the victim from behind by her hair while she was still topless and dragged her on the ground into another cell, according to the DOJ.
Mr. Fischer then allegedly falsified a San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s incident report by including allegedly false statements that the victim had thrown her shirt on the ground after removing it outside her cell, that she yelled and flailed her arms while re-entering her cell, and that Mr. Fischer “was in fear for the safety of the other female arrestee in the cell” because the victim was “still without her shirt, yelling and flailing her arms,” the indictment alleges.
In fact, the DOJ said, the victim did not throw her shirt on the ground after removing it outside the cell, she was not flailing her arms around as she re-entered her cell. Instead, her arms were by her side and then near her bare chest when Mr. Fischer allegedly assaulted her, according to the indictment.
Mr. Fischer is expected to be arraigned on the indictment in the coming weeks at U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
If convicted of both charges, Mr. Fischer would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison on the deprivation of rights count and 20 years in federal prison for the falsification of records count.
The FBI investigated this matter.
Assistant U.S. attorneys Thomas F. Rybarczyk of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and Frances S. Lewis of the General Crimes Section are prosecuting this case.
— Katherine Zehnder