Traffic fatality victim identified, driver charged
SANTA BARBARA — Police have identified the person who died in a collision Sunday evening as Steven Doyle Carlson, 71.
The Santa Barbara Police Department is continuing to investigate the fatality, which involved two vehicles and preceded the arrest of Jose Fermin Lopez Jr., 24, of Santa Barbara.
On Wednesday, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office announced Mr. Lopez, the driver of one of the vehicles, is being charged with these felonies: one count of murder, one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, one count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and one count of driving with a .08% or higher blood alcohol content causing injury.
“Additionally it is further alleged that Mr. Lopez personally inflicted great bodily injury within the meaning of Penal Code section 12022.7(a),” the district attorney’s office said in a news release.
Mr. Lopez was arraigned Wednesday from the hospital, where he is recovering from the injuries he sustained in the collision. Mr. Lopez did not enter a plea, and the arraignment was continued to 8:30 a.m. Nov. 22 in Department 8 of the Santa Barbara Superior Court.
Bail has been set at $2 million.
— Dave Mason
SBPD rescues man during fire
SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara Police Department rescued a man trapped in a burning home Wednesday.
The Santa Barbara Police Combined Communications Center received multiple reports of a residential structure fire in the 700 block of Spring Street, at around 9:50 a.m.
Santa Barbara Police Officer A. Gutierrez was patrolling on Milpas Street as calls were coming into the dispatch center. Officer Gutierrez observed a large plume of black smoke about a block from Milpas Street.
Officer Gutierrez was the first responder on the scene. He immediately radioed dispatch that the residential structure was engulfed in flames, and loud screaming was coming from inside the structure. A local business owner arrived on scene to assist Officer Gutierrez.
Officers C. Ortega and D. Valerio arrived moments later to assist Officer Gutierrez.
Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale, the Santa Barbara police public information officer, said the officers could see the man trapped in the house through a window. Officers Gutierrez and Valerio pulled the man out of the window and carried him to safety, with the assistance of a local business owner. Santa Barbara City Fire arrived on scene shortly after.
Officers immediately started evacuating residences in the 700 block of Spring Street and several buildings located on North Milpas Street.
The rescued man was transported to the hospital and treated for minor injuries and smoke insulation. The officers sustained minor cuts and smoke inhalation. One officer did have to seek medical care.
Santa Barbara city firefighters were able to extinguish flames and minimized further risk to the neighborhood.
The victim sustained smoke inhalation and other injuries. All other occupants were safely evacuated from the home.
Firefighters also assisted in evacuating a family of dogs, including puppies from an adjacent structure as precaution, due to the amount of smoke.
The fire was controlled within minutes, and fire investigators determined the cause of the fire to be electrical.
— Katherine Zehnder
Homicide arrests in Lompoc
LOMPOC — Two arrests have been made in connection with the Oct. 17 shooting death of Tony Villa as well as the injury of a second adult in the 500 block of North M Street.
A 17-year-old male was arrested on Nov. 8 in Lompoc, and a 16 -year-old male was arrested Tuesday in Santa Maria, according to Lompoc police.
Both were booked in Santa Maria Juvenile Hall. Police said the charges are homicide, participation in a criminal street gang, dissuading a witness and/or victim, and use of a firearm during a gang crime.
The investigating officer was Detective Cpl. Guerra.
— Katherine Zehnder
Collision on Highway 101
BUELLTON — A solo vehicle collision took place around 5:05 a.m. Tuesday southbound on Highway 101, south of Santa Rosa Road.
A preliminary California Highway Patrol investigation shows the driver of an approximately 40-foot long, 2016 International box truck was traveling at an unknown speed, going south in the highway’s No. 1 lane.
The driver — Fabian Funes, 33, of San Bernardino — turned southwest, veering to the right across all the lanes of southbound 101 and colliding with the right shoulder dirt embankment, according to CHP.
After the collision, the vehicle ended up overturned onto its left side, blocking the southbound lanes. As a result, those lanes were closed for about four hours.
The driver was the truck’s sole occupant and wasn’t transported to a medical facility.
The cause of the collision remains under investigation, but alcohol and drugs don’t appear to be a factor, according to CHP.
Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call Officer J. Ligon at the Buellton CHP office at 805-688-5551.
— Dave Mason