Friday, June 22 , 2018, 8:42 am | Fog/Mist 60º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Bill Macfadyen: Goleta House Fire Smokes Out the Readers

More alleged DUI driving fills NoozWeek's Top 5, including a wreck that killed a brand-new Santa Maria High grad; then there's a panicked horse and a hospital merger

What were you reading on Noozhawk this past week?

1. Three Escape Without Injury From Burning Goleta Home

A spectacular house fire caused quite a commotion in a Goleta neighborhood on the evening of June 18, but a woman and her two children were able to escape without injury.

The blaze broke out just after 6 p.m. at a single-family home in the 6200 block of Momouth Avenue, west of the Fairview Shopping Center. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department fielded a deluge of calls reporting the fire, as well as a possible explosion that preceded it.

Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood happened to be driving by and used his smartphone to capture some dramatic video of flames leaping from a side of the one-story house.

Rick Savage, who had lived in the house for about 15 years, told Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton that his wife and kids were inside at the time, but they were able to get themselves and the family’s two Labrador retrievers out safely.

Firefighters say a storage shed at the rear of the house was destroyed, a bedroom was badly damaged, and there was smoke and heat damage throughout the structure.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Within just a few hours, the story had leaped to the lead in NoozWeek’s Top 5 and has remained there ever since.

The driver of a Honda civic that overturned June 16 in downtown Santa Barbara was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, according to Santa Barbara police. (Chris Mailes / Santa Barbara City Fire Department photo)
The driver of a Honda civic that overturned June 16 in downtown Santa Barbara was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, according to Santa Barbara police. (Chris Mailes / Santa Barbara City Fire Department photo)

2. Driver Arrested After Rollover in Downtown Santa Barbara

Heather Maassen, 30, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and child endangerment. (Santa Barbara Police Department photo)
Heather Maassen, 30, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and child endangerment. (Santa Barbara Police Department photo)

The middle of the first block of West Gutierrez Street in downtown Santa Barbara seems like an unlikely place for a rollover wreck, but that’s exactly what happened the evening of June 16. A child passenger suffered minor injuries, and the driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and child endangerment.

Emergency personnel arrived on the one-way street at about 6:45 p.m. and found a Honda Civic flipped on its roof near D’Angelo Pastry & Bread. According to police Lt. Paul McCaffrey, the car struck two unoccupied parked cars — a Honda and a Mercedes-Benz — and rolled over.

Santa Barbara fire Capt. Chris Mailes said the driver and her two passengers were assessed for injuries, and the child was transported by ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with minor injuries.

The driver, Heather Maassen, 30, of Santa Barbara, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and child endangerment, McCaffrey said.

3. Alleged DUI Crash Kills One, Critically Injures Another

Jade Dodson graduated June 7 from Santa Maria High School, where she was a star doubles player on the girls’ tennis team. Eleven days later, before she had much of a chance to even think about her future, an alleged DUI driver robbed her of it. She was 18 years old.

Cristian Carbajal
Christian Carbajal, 19, was arrested on charges of vehicular manslaughter, DUI causing injury and reckless driving. (Santa Maria Police Department photo)

According to Santa Maria police, Jade and her younger sister were riding in a Toyota Camry driven by their older brother at about 7:30 p.m. June 18. Sgt. Jesus Valle said the driver of a Chevy pickup truck ran a red light at South Broadway and McCoy Lane and T-boned the sedan, striking it where Jade was sitting in the front seat. The truck then collided with two other vehicles.

The Dodson siblings were rushed to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where Jade was pronounced dead of her injuries. Her 19-year-old brother was admitted in critical condition and her 7-year-old sister was treated for a major head wound. Silva said the girl was expected to recover.

The driver of the pickup, Christian Iban Rodriguez Carbajal, 19, of Santa Maria, had minor injuries from the wreck, and Silva said he was arrested on charges of vehicular manslaughter, DUI causing injury and reckless driving.

Carbajal was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $1 million.

4. Witness Describes Panicked Horse, Mishap That Seriously Injured Cowboy

Doug Brink, a veteran cowboy and ranch hand at Circle Bar B Guest Ranch west of Goleta, was seriously injured in a riding accident June 7. (Hall family photo)
Doug Brink, a veteran cowboy and ranch hand at Circle Bar B Guest Ranch west of Goleta, was seriously injured in a riding accident June 7. (Hall family photo)

Vern Hall watched in horror as his friend, Doug Brink, tried in vain to rein in his panicked horse outside his Refugio Canyon home. But the horse reared on its back legs on a very steep hillside, and tumbled back on top of the cowboy, crushing him. Horse and rider rolled down the slope and both were knocked unconscious.

Hall contacted our Tom Bolton to fill in details of our initial report of the June 7 accident. We’re glad he did because the dramatic account really captured the attention of our readers.

According to Hall, Brink was just being neighborly when he rode his quarter horse, Burt, up to the house Hall shares with his wife, Donna, high above the Circle Bar B Guest Ranch west of Goleta. But after delivering the couple’s mail, the horse apparently got spooked by a rope fence and chaos ensued.

After the mishap, Hall scrambled down the hill and quickly called for help, prompting a full-scale response from ranch personnel, county firefighters, paramedics and the sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team.

Because of the remote location, Hall said, it took a while for rescuers to reach Brink, provide initial treatment, and carry him down the hill, where a waiting ambulance rushed him to Cottage Hospital.

He said Brink, 56, suffered several broken ribs and a broken pelvis, as well as a head injury. According to Donna Hall, Brink remains in the intensive-care unit, where he’s in stable condition but is somewhat unresponsive.

Meanwhile, Brink’s horse eventually came to, got up and trotted off. The animal was coaxed back to the stable and appears to have suffered only minor injuries.

5. Cottage Health System, Sansum Clinic Announce Plan to Merge

The rumor had been circulating for so long that many South Coast residents just accepted it as inevitable. How else to explain the rather muted — at least externally — reaction to the June 18 announcement that Cottage Health System was merging with Sansum Clinic?

As both organizations are nonprofits, the execution will be a little tricky. Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage, and Dr. Kurt Ransohoff, CEO and chief medical officer of Sansum, told Noozhawk’s Giana Magnoli that the organizational and governance details are still being worked out. They say the early scorecard indicates that each entity will maintain its own leadership and boards of directors, and there may continue to be some overlap of services.

The merger, which is expected to be completed in the fall, will combine three hospitals and 23 ambulatory facilities. More important, it means most of southern Santa Barbara County’s health-care facilities will be controlled by a single organization. Time will tell whether that’s a healthy outcome for the community.

                                                                  •        •        •

OK, this isn’t a video, but it is satire at its most masterful. I just hope the attorney who wrote it didn’t bill the client for the time it took to craft. Click here for the letter we all wish we had written.

                                                                  •        •        •

There were 59,197 people who read Noozhawk this past week. If you value our unmatched breaking news and in-depth reporting on the issues that you care about, please support our experienced staff of professional journalists and help us continue to provide a vital forum for the community.

How can you help?

» Join our Hawks Club by clicking here to make a donation online, or mail your check to Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102.

» .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or market your business, organization, service or event.

» Subscribe to our free daily e-Bulletin.

» Display your Noozhawk pride with a 3-inch-square Noozhawk sticker. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Noozhawk Promotions, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102. The free stickers — as well as full-sized bumper stickers and pens — also are available at Noozhawk World Headquarters, 1327-A State St., by the historic Arlington Theatre.

» Like us on Facebook.

» Follow us on Twitter.

Please note that personal contributions to Noozhawk are not deductible as charitable donations.

Thank you for your support.

— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >