Dec. 9

Crash dummies

At 1:11 am a deputy was dispatched to a multi-vehicle collision that appeared to reporting parties as a head-on collision in which someone was ejected from a vehicle. The deputy arrived and found a vehicle had been driving westbound on Mission Drive, just west of Fifth Street, when the vehicle struck two unoccupied parked cars at an estimated speed of 70 mph. The driver, 32, of Buellton and his passenger, 29, of Buellton had been drinking at the Maverick Saloon and were on their way home to Buellton on Highway 246. The man rear-ended a car that was parked on the street in front of Holiday Inn Express.The deputy found the driver who appeared to be in too much pain to talk. The impact pushed the dashboard and steering wheel rearward and the man’s right knee had a 6-inch laceration. The vehicle’s analog speedometer needle was pinned against the face of the speedometer at “50” mph. The vehicle’s other passenger crawled out of the passenger window and was lying on the ground, moaning. The deputy asked the man if he was breathing OK and the man snapped, “I have to pee, man! Why would you ask me if I’m breathing?” The deputy asked him for his identification and the man said, “(Bleep) you and kick rocks, bro.”

Paramedics and fire personnel arrived. The deputy walked back to the driver to check on his condition. He noted the vehicle smelled heavily of alcohol. The driver appeared to be under the influence. A computer check showed he had two DUI convictions within the last three years and that his California driver’s license was suspended. He didn’t have an ignition interlock device in his car – a violation of a court order requirement. A witness who had been sitting in the hotel lobby heard a vehicle traveling at a high speed and saw it strike the back of a car, causing the parked car to spin out of the roadway. She ran over to the suspect’s car and noticed the driver was seriously injured. She didn’t see anyone in the other vehicle. The suspects were transported to the local hospital. The driver was incubated and could not communicate. The deputy directed the hospital to draw his blood, which was later booked as evidence. Because the man was arrested for felony injury DUI, the deputy called the sheriff’s main jail and coordinated with a sergeant to have a hospital guard stay with the man. The deputy went to interview the passenger, whom he learned had a ruptured bladder and was still in serious pain.

On Dec.9, the deputy called the registered owner of the vehicle the men had crashed. She said she was the driver’s “on and off again” girlfriend. She said they’d got into a fight earlier and she didn’t know where he was. She admitted she knew of her boyfriend’s DUI history and that she knew his license had been suspended. “I’m not trying to get in trouble.” She said he had a key to her vehicle and she assumed he only used her vehicle to drive up the block. She was cited for allowing the man to drive her vehicle on a suspended license. She had a prior conviction for the same offense in February.

Dec. 10

Extra credit

At 9:43 a.m. a man reported that his business was the victim of credit card fraud. He said on Dec. 8 at 1:36 p.m. he received a call from Nike Incorporated confirming an Internet purchase made by his business credit card. He advised the representative he did not make or authorize the purchase. The representative cancelled the purchase and encouraged him to contact his credit card company. The man checked his statement and discovered that there had been 10 fraudulent charges totaling $6,224. The bank closed the account and provided him with a case and reference number regarding the fraudulent charges and requested that he contact law enforcement. The charges occurred within San Diego County and two within Los Angeles, and one each within the states of Indiana and Oregon. The case was suspended, pending leads.

Steal away

At 11:45 p.m. deputies responded to the 3000 block of Lindero Street to investigate a report of theft. They contacted the victim, who said sometime between Dec. 1 and Dec. 3 someone removed an Echo weed trimmer and a leaf blower from the detached garage to his residence. The garage door was open at the time of the theft and he didn’t know who was responsible. The deputies provided him with a case number regarding the theft of his property.

Disappearing act

At 10:30 p.m. a deputy on routine patrol in the area of Mission Drive and Fourth Street saw a man, 62, of Ojai, standing on the sidewalk and swaying, almost falling over. He saw another subject, of Solvang, 33, a person he’d met at a bar, attempting to help the man stand. The deputy spoke to the subjects. The bystander said the man got drunk in Solvang. He followed the man out of a bar and attempted to help him locate his hotel. The deputy with the man immediately noticed he was drunk: bloodshot eyes, unsteady balance, unkempt clothing and a strong odor of alcohol.

The man said he didn’t have his driver’s license because “a rogue CHP officer illegally came on my property and arrested me after I wrecked my Porsche and then took my blood illegally.” He stated, “But it’s OK, I have a lawsuit against the state, and the state is going to make me a millionaire.” He added that he was in the aerospace industry and was so important he had a “personal SWAT team” for his security. Another deputy arrived. The man said he was staying at a hotel in Solvang but couldn’t name the location. Deputies arrested the drunk man, who resisted by pulling his arms toward the front of his body. Once they managed to handcuff him, the man yelled, “You don’t know who I am. I will make you disappear.” He threatened that one call to his “Godfather” and his team would make the deputies disappear. He further stated that his team comprises Navy SEALs and CIA guys, and that he would pay his SWAT team $35,000 a year to protect him from the deputies who had no idea who they were dealing with.

Deputies searched the man and placed him in the patrol car. He then started squirming around and complained of a medical issue. The deputy requested medical personnel who transported him to the local hospital. The deputy removed the handcuffs from the man when a hospital doctor inquired what his medical issue was. The man stated he wanted his phone to “call the Godfather” to make everyone in the room disappear. The doctor asked him again what he could help him with medically and the man said, “Nothing, I am fine.” After being medically cleared, he was booked into county jail. Custody staff attempted to ask the man booking medical questions and he refused to answer, but he admitted he was suicidal, saying “I want to cut my (bleeping) head off.” The man was moved to a safety cell. Nowhere in the deputy’s report was there mention of a mental health evaluation.

Dec. 11

American graffiti

At 10:05 p.m. deputies responded to a Solvang jewelry store at 1500 Copenhagen Drive on a report of vandalism and spoke with the owner, who said he left the store at 5:30 p.m. the prior evening and returned the next morning to find graffiti sprayed on the front of the business. “PDK” was painted on the wall, and the suspects appeared to have used a heavy coating of paint. The deputy took photographs and forwarded them to Forensics for processing. The owner said he had no idea who would have vandalized his business, noting that no employees had recently been terminated. The deputy checked the area and found no other instances of vandalism. Later, he did find “PDK” spray-painted on the wall of Panino in Solvang. The owner of the restaurant said she noticed the graffiti at 10 a.m. that morning. The case was suspended, pending leads.

Dec. 12

A cut above

At 11:18 p.m. deputies were dispatched to Maverick Saloon regarding a fight. Prior to their arrival, several subjects fled the area. The victim was contacted while he was being examined by medical personnel. He stated that he was at the bar with friends. At 11 p.m. the reporting party, of South Dakota, looked outside and saw several subjects fighting and noticed that his friend was being attacked. He was unable to recall his friend’s name or provide his contact information. He stated he went outside to help break up the fight and an unknown subject punched him, causing a laceration above his right eye. He refused medical attention and said he’d go to the hospital later.

Dec. 20

Suspicious circumstances

At 6:02 pm deputies responded to Rabobank in Santa Ynez on a report of a woman attempting to cash fraudulent checks. A man and a female passenger were inside a white Mercedes parked in the drive-thru. The bank contacted the name printed on the check and discovered the owner did not write it. Upon arrival, the deputy contacted the driver of a vehicle matching the description of the Mercedes. The male driver, 34 of Santa Ynez, was the only one in the vehicle. The man said he is the owner of Sanja Cota market in Santa Ynez and explained that he gets people who come into his store on a daily basis to cash their employment checks.

He said he had a regular customer, a 19-year-old Solvang resident later identified by an Arizona identification card, who has attempted to cash her checks in the store several times. The owner said a few weeks ago he had an issue with her checks – three were returned from the bank, stating “Closed accounts.” The woman provided the copies of the three checks and the owner said he paid out some funds to the suspect prior to attempting to cash the checks, but he could not elaborate on why he gave the woman money.

On Dec. 5 the woman came into his store with another check for $478. He said he would not cash the check until he was able to verify the funds. The woman left and returned five days later and attempted to cash a $728 check. The man told the woman that they would need to go directly to Rabobank to cash it. He said they both pulled up to the bank drive-thru and he handed the teller both checks. The teller advised him that the account was closed and the bank could not provide him with further information. The market owner told the deputy they drove away and he dropped the woman off at his store. The owner said he then returned to the bank without the woman because he wanted to cash the checks.

The legitimate owner of the checks said she ordered new ones from the bank a month ago, but they never arrived. She contacted the bank, who reissued a new box of checks. Two people (not the subject and the market owner) were provided as suspects by the Santa Maria Police Department. The deputy provided the victim with a case number and told them to contact the county sheriff’s department. The case was submitted to the District Attorney’s office for review.

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