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Bill Macfadyen: Alleged DUI Driver Big Loser in Game of Demolition-Derby Pinball

NoozWeek’s Top 5 mourns for Carina Velazquez, chases a real hit-and-run, puts a smug sexual predator on ice, and reveals the secrets of hideaway bar hopping

What a wreck.
What a wreck. (Urban Hikers photo)

I’ve been thinking about wishing you a Happy Easter. Am I still allowed to harbor such thoughts?

In the meantime, there were 84,003 people who read Noozhawk this past week. Read on for your top stories.

1. Suspected Hit-and-Run Driver Injured in Highway 154 Rollover Crash

A slew of DUI charges is expected to be filed against a Carpinteria man who allegedly left a trail of destruction as he drove between Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside and San Marcos Pass.

According to authorities, 60-year-old Timothy Joseph Siemann suffered serious injuries when his SUV careered off Highway 154 near Windy Gap just below the pass. The rollover wreck was reported around 6:30 p.m. March 28.

It turns out that was the end of an apparent wild ride, not the beginning.

Santa Barbara police Officer Jaycee Hunter told our Tom Bolton that Siemann was responsible for four hit-and-run collisions in a 20-minute span in the neighborhood of Garden and Yanonali streets. He said he then fled the scene, driving up Highway 154 toward the Santa Ynez Valley.

Just before his final crash, Siemann allegedly crossed over the double yellow line and sideswiped an oncoming vehicle.

“Two curves later, he drove off the road,” Hunter said.

Siemann was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where a blood test determined that he was intoxicated, authorities say.

Hunter said SBPD has forwarded the case to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, alleging at least four counts of felony DUI along with a charge of driving on a suspended license.

In addition to to the suspended license, he said, Siemann has three prior DUI arrests.

There apparently were no serious injuries in the other wrecks. The driver Siemann allegedly sideswiped was able to come to a stop and call 9-1-1. That driver had only minor injuries, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Tributes and commemorations pile up near where 15-year-old Carina Velazquez was struck by a vehicle while walking home from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. (Kimberley Grant photo)
Tributes and commemorations pile up near where 15-year-old Carina Velazquez was struck by a vehicle while walking home from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. (Kimberley Grant photo)

2. Girl Fatally Injured in Accident Near Santa Ynez High School

A Santa Ynez Valley Union High School freshman walking home from campus the evening of March 26 was struck by a minivan on Highway 246 near the school. She died of her injuries several hours later.

The Santa Ynez Valley High School community will honor Carina Velazquez with a celebration of her life at 10 a.m. April 3. (Facebook photo)
The Santa Ynez Valley High School community will honor Carina Velazquez with a celebration of her life at 10 a.m. April 3. (Facebook photo)

Carina Velazquez, a member of Santa Ynez High’s Future Farmers of America chapter, had been at an after-school FFA event and was walking back to her house a few blocks away.

California Highway Patrol Officer John Ortega said the 15-year-old girl apparently was crossing the highway just west of Refugio Road at about 6:50 p.m. when she was hit by a westbound Chrysler minivan driven by Greta Garofallou, 83, of Lompoc.

Carina was rushed to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major injuries, but died later that night. Her parents and younger brother and sister were at her bedside when she succumbed.

The cause and circumstances of the crash are still under CHP investigation. Alcohol and drugs were not believed to be factors, Ortega said. 

Although the intersection where Carina was crossing has a traffic light, Santa Ynez High Principal Mark Swanitz told our Tom Bolton that “it’s a bit of a blind corner ... and the sun this time of year at that time of day is brutal.”

Carina was an avid member of the FFA program, and Swanitz said her teachers described her as a “smart, quiet, very sweet, kind and caring kid.”

A celebration of her life will be held at 10 a.m. April 3 in the Pirates’ football stadium.

“The family has requested casual attire to honor Carina’s relaxed approach to life,” according to a notice on the school’s website. “Wear the color green or pajama bottoms as they were Carina’s favorites.”

Facebook page was set up for family and friends to share their memories and their grief. Last weekend, the Santa Ynez Valley Jazz Band held a benefit concert to help the Velazquez family with medical and funeral expenses.

A Go Fund Me fundraising page also was established to assist the family. As of April 3, the site was well above its $10,000 goal.

R.I.P. Carina. Prayers for peace and comfort to her family.

Anyone see a loose driver around here? (Urban Hikers photo)
Anyone see a loose driver around here? (Urban Hikers photo)

3. Goleta Woman Arrested on Suspicion of DUI After Crash in Santa Barbara

A hit-and-run collision on Santa Barbara’s Westside was — literally — a hit, and then a run. Allegedly.

Police Sgt. Riley Harwood said a two-car crash was reported in the 700 block of West Canon Perdido about 9:45 p.m. March 31. He said a Dodge Charger had drifted onto the wrong side of the street near Loma Alta Drive and crashed into an oncoming Jeep Cherokee.

After the wreck, Harwood said, the Charger driver jumped out of her car and ran away.

“The suspect fled on foot, and she was stopped about two blocks away on the 600 block of West De la Guerra Street,” he said.

Officers caught up with the suspect and, after a positive ID from two witnesses, arrested Brenda Jauregui-Salinas, 21, of Goleta.

She was booked into County Jail on misdemeanor DUI charges.

There were no serious injuries in the crash.

4. Jury in Child-Rape Case Takes Just 18 Minutes to Reach Guilty Verdict

One more smug scumbag will be leaving Santa Barbara County for good after a jury wasted no time in sentencing him to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Wipe the smirk off your face.
Wipe the smirk off your face.

Santos Javier Guevara Oliva, 35, was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14 years of age and forcible rape — clinically sounding words that can’t begin to describe the horrors he inflicted on his victim, the then-13-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend at the time. If you must read the gory details, our Lara Cooper has a lot of them in her story.

During the course of the investigation, sheriff’s detectives learned Oliva had allegedly preyed upon a previous girlfriend’s young daughter five years before.

Of course, tough guy that he is, Oliva fled the South Coast when he learned he was wanted for questioning. That was in 2013. He eventually was tracked down in Hyattsville, Md., where he was arrested earlier this year by federal immigration officers.

Yes, immigration officers. From here, the story practically writes itself.

According to ICE, Oliva is a citizen of El Salvador. He was deported as an aggravated felon in 2010 after his 2009 conviction in Santa Barbara County on charges of grand theft and false imprisonment. Some time in the next two years, he boomeranged back to Carpinteria.

I know, I know. I’m just as surprised as you.

Courageous testimony by the two young survivors of Santos’ predation was critical to his conviction. And his future of life without parole gives him the distinction of being the only county criminal to ever receive such a sentence for a nonmurder conviction.

Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Ladinig said most sex-crimes cases with which he deals do not involve child rape, but they do exist.

“This is that case,” he told the jurors. “You don’t think that this stuff can happen. You think in Santa Barbara it can’t touch us here, but it does and it has.”

Classic cocktail and fresh ocean air are a tempting combination at Alcazar Tapas Bar on the Mesa. (Tara Jones / Noozhawk photo)
Classic cocktail and fresh ocean air are a tempting combination at Alcazar Tapas Bar on the Mesa. (Tara Jones / Noozhawk photo)

5. Tara Jones: Top Five Hideaway Bars in Santa Barbara and Goleta

Tara Jones has been making the rounds of South Coast wine-and-dine destinations with her Toast of Santa Barbara column. It’s been a popular addition to the Noozhawk lineup.

Her latest column featured five hidden watering holes that are ideal places to take a load off and unwind. Based on the traffic, however, they’re not likely to stay on the down-low for long. If you’re a regular at one of them, I apologize in advance for the crowd to come.

Here are Tara’s Top 5: Alcazar Tapas Bar​, 1812 Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara; Cebada Vineyard & Tasting Room, 5 E. Figueroa St. in Santa Barbara; The Good Bar at The Goodland, 5650 Calle Real in Goleta; The Good Lion, 1212 State St. in Santa Barbara; and The Imperial, 320 S. Kellogg Ave. in Goleta.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: Top 10 Weird Facts About California’s Drought.

                                                                 •        •        •

Let’s see ... Albert Einstein or Marilyn Monroe?

(AsapSCIENCE video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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