What were you reading on Noozhawk this past week?
A Santa Barbara woman will be arraigned next week on felony drunken-driving charges stemming from a wild Nov. 30 crash that nearly killed her and her passenger when she drove off Highway 101 on the Gaviota coast and her truck plunged to the beach 250 feet below. Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton’s exclusive story drew heavy reader interest all week, as had our original reporting on the incident.
Kristy Lynn Oglesby, 28, suffered major injuries, including the near-amputation of her left arm, when her Nissan Frontier pickup landed on its roof near the surf line between El Capitán and Refugio state beaches. Her passenger, Michael James Reigard, 29, was seriously injured in the wreck.
Fortunately for both, witnesses saw the pickup veer off the rain-slickened highway as it raced southbound at speeds in excess of 100 mph. California Highway Patrol Officer James Richards said that when Oglesby lost control, the pickup “continued up the embankment protecting the railroad tracks and went airborne.”
At her Feb. 20 arraignment, Oglesby is facing charges of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and driving with a .08-percent blood alcohol, both felonies. The criminal complaint against her indicates her blood-alcohol content was 0.14 percent, nearly twice the limit at which a driver is presumed to be drunk under California law.
She also faces misdemeanor counts of driving with a suspended or revoked license, and failure to provide evidence of insurance.
Reigard is facing a felony charge of possession of methamphetamine and is to be arraigned Feb. 22.
Few details have been released in the Feb. 12 death of a pedestrian who was hit that night by an Amtrak passenger train near Padaro and Santa Claus lanes in Carpinteria. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department investigation is continuing.
Meanwhile, the Coroner’s Office told Noozhawk that Gregory Alexich, 63, of Santa Barbara, was the man who was run over by an Amtrak train near State Street on Feb. 3 in an apparent suicide. The Alexich story was the second most-read story last week and the third most-read story this week.
Local interest remains sky-high in a Jan. 31 Sierra Nevada murder-suicide that claimed the lives of teenage siblings and former Santa Barbara residents Alex and Macaila Marshall. The children apparently were shot to death by their father, who authorities say then killed the family dog and himself at their home in Murphys, about 80 miles southeast of Sacramento.
The grisly scene was discovered two days later by friends of the teens who were concerned that they had missed school and were not responding to calls, emails and text messages. Calaveras County law-enforcement officials say Alex, 17, and his sister, Macaila, 14, were killed in their sleep. The bodies of their father, Philip Marshall, 54, and their dog were found nearby.
Marshall’s estranged wife, Sean, was traveling in Turkey at the time of the slayings. She had filed for divorce last October and a hearing reportedly had been scheduled for later this month.
Toxicology reports are pending in the case. Authorities hope to learn whether the children were drugged first and what Marshall’s state of mind might have been at the time of the murders.
According to the Calaveras Enterprise, a number of conspiracy theories have popped up in the close-knit mountain community. The newspaper reported that Marshall was a contract pilot for the CIA in the 1980s and said he had written several books in which he claimed the U.S. government was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Believing that Old Town Goleta was hungry for higher-end dining options, Steven Giles opened Sage & Onion Café last month at 5599 Hollister Ave. If Noozhawk readers’ interest is any indication, he was right.
Sage & Onion had been dormant since closing five years ago at its previous location in downtown Santa Barbara. The reborn restaurant is in Kellogg Square, across the parking lot from the old Sizzler and adjacent to another Giles undertaking, XO Coffee & Tea Bar.
The new place specializes in breakfast sandwiches, slow-roasted meats, soups, freshly baked pastries and Britain-fused staples. Giles told Noozhawk’s Gina Potthoff that a big hit has been to-go meals, which are individually packaged and sell for under $10.
Facing charges of felony hit-and-run and hit-and-run with fatal injuries in the Jan. 15 death of 22-year-old Simon Chavez, a Riverside County man appeared at a preliminary hearing Feb. 11 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
Lau Van Huynh, 78, of Murrieta, is the suspected driver of a white 2011 Hyundai Tucson that struck and killed Chavez as the former Santa Barbara High baseball coach staggered onto southbound Highway 101 near the Ortega Street Footbridge early on the morning of Jan. 15. Chavez was pronounced dead at the scene when CHP and Santa Barbara police officers arrived just minutes later.
The driver sped away after the collision but tell-tale clues — notably, the vehicle’s driver-side mirror — were found in the wreckage. Detectives traced the SUV to Huynh and located a vehicle matching the description in his garage. According to court testimony, they had to obtain a warrant to search the vehicle when Huynh’s daughter refused to grant permission and denied knowing anyone by her father’s name.
In court, CHP investigators recounted horrific details of the collision. CHP Sgt. Andrew Chapman said security video shows a white Hyundai with Huynh driving leaving the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez at 12:33 a.m. Jan. 15. Chavez was struck and killed a half-hour later.
Judge Clifford Anderson order Huynh to be arraigned Feb. 28.
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