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Local News

Santa Barbara Police Report Rise in Holiday Incidents

Officials spread department resources to several areas over the Fourth of July weekend

While this year’s Fourth of July in Santa Barbara was free of major fires — thankfully — there were more local police incidents and at least one fatality on the roads.

The Santa Barbara Police Department officers in charge of holiday-related incidents reported an increase over last year in municipal code citations, parking citations, vehicles towed and arrests.

More reported incidents could be attributed to how the department dedicated its efforts, public information officer Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte said.

Last year, many officers were busy investigating a homicide, but police forces could be spread to different areas this year. More were dedicated to DUI patrol and gang suppression, which could explain the increase in reported incidents. Duarte recalled one assault with a deadly weapon incident that required medical attention.

Extra lighting near the beach, similar to those used for Fiesta, and other areas gave civilians and officers better visibility.

With holiday traffic often an issue for public safety, police conducted DUI checkpoints around town on Friday and Sunday. No arrests were made for driving under the influence, but 14 drivers were evaluated for sobriety, four were driving under the influence and 28 vehicles were towed. Police also use checkpoints to find people driving with invalid/suspended licenses.

A fatality occurred on Stagecoach Road on Saturday afternoon after a motorcycle driver drifted over a double yellow line into oncoming traffic, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Jody Powell, 46, of Newbury Park, was thrown from his bike when he drove into the path of a BMW, CHP Sgt. Deanna Brummett said. The car was slow-moving but unable to avoid the collision, she said.

Powell was pronounced dead at the scene by Santa Barbara County firefighters. According to Brummett, a friend Powell was riding with told police that they had been drinking. An investigation is continuing.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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