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Bill Macfadyen: As Strange as It Seems, Montecito ‘Car Surfing’ Story Adds Another Twist

In Best of Noozhawk 06.22.12, readers eat up El Paseo Restaurant sale, hail Klaus Schauser, follow a police shooting and hold their noses to read one story

What were you reading on Noozhawk this past week?

1. Car-Surfing Defendant Enters Not-Guilty Plea to Murder

Tyrone Richardson on June 21 pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges related to his alleged role in the June 6 “car-surfing” death of Allison Meadows. The 26-year-old Santa Barbara woman was fatally injured on Montecito’s East Valley Road and the tragically bizarre circumstances of the case have continued to draw strong attention from readers.

Lanie Tyrone Richardson
Lanie Tyrone Richardson

Richardson, 28, of Santa Barbara, is facing second-degree murder and other felony counts stemming from what the California Highway Patrol has claimed is a “car surfing” incident. He was arrested June 8 as the alleged driver of a Toyota 4Runner, atop which, CHP investigators say, Meadows and a friend, Lindsay Keebler, 25, of Santa Barbara, were riding when the women were thrown from the vehicle.

In another strange turn of events, Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper reported June 22 that CHP documents she has obtained concluded that Richardson, a male passenger and the injured Keebler loaded Meadows in the truck and drove to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Rather than calling 9-1-1, CHP investigators say, the trio made up a cover story that would paint Richardson and his passenger, whose identity has not been released, as “good Samaritans” who had found the women lying on the road and rescued them.

Richardson will be back in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on July 12 to have a preliminary hearing set. He remains in custody at the County Jail with bail set at $1 million.

2. El Paseo Mexican Restaurant Sold to Longtime General Manager

Paul Jakubowski, managing partner of El Paseo Mexican Restaurant, 813 Anacapa St., has purchased the historic eatery from John Scott, its longtime owner. The sale has been in escrow since Feb. 29, and Jakubowski expects it to go through by the end of June, once a new liquor license is approved. Sale terms were not disclosed.

3. AppFolio’s Klaus Schauser Tailor-Made for 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Klaus Schauser, co-founder of AppFolio and Citrix Online, was honored with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the 18th annual South Coast Business & Technology Awards on June 14 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.

Other honorees at the event, a benefit for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, were the Central Coast MIT Enterprise Forum, Mission Linen, Ron Werft of Cottage Health System and Fred Gluck.

4. DA Says Shooting of Santa Maria Officer Was Justified

District Attorney Joyce Dudley on June 19 released a long-awaited report on the shooting death of a Santa Maria police officer by a fellow officer earlier this year. In a story first reported by Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton, Dudley concluded that Officer Matthew Kline’s shooting of Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr. was a “justifiable homicide.”

Covarrubius, 29, was fatally shot in the early morning hours of Jan. 28 as two Santa Maria police supervisors attempted to arrest him for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old member of SMPD’s Police Explorers program.

The shooting happened as Covarrubias was among a group of officers breaking down a DUI checkpoint about 1:20 a.m., when Sgts. Chris Nartatez and Mark Norling attempted to take him into custody. According to witnesses and the official report, a fight ensued and Covarrubias fired his service revolver, although the bullet didn’t strike anyone.

“Officer Kline, a friend of Officer Covarrubias, saw a life-threatening situation unfold in front of him,” Dudley wrote in her report. “Fearing for the safety of others, and believing he needed to act immediately to preserve the sergeants’ lives, he shot and killed Officer Covarrubias.”

Covarrubias was declared dead on arrival at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

5. Santa Barbara Working to Abate Smell from Andree Clark Bird Refuge

As anyone in Montecito can tell you, Santa Barbara’s Andree Clark Bird Refuge stinks to high heaven these days.

The stench has long been a problem at the 29-acre pond, which originally was part of a salt marsh fed by spring runoff from Sycamore Creek. But creek access was cut off by the railroad’s construction in the 1880s and the lack of water circulation has created optimal conditions for blooming algae. When the algae dies, there is literally something rotten in the water — and it reeks.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli drew the short straw on the assignment and we sent her down there with nose plugs to get the story. She found out that the city is deploying a motorized skiff to stir the putrid pot and aerate the water.

Jill Zachary, assistant director of the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, adds that a five-year project will get under way next month to improve water quality and flow and to restore the refuge.

                                                                  •        •        •

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