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Bill Macfadyen: Another Fatal Motorcycle Wreck Leads the Way with Noozhawk Readers

NoozWeek’​​s Top 5 finds an alleged fatal hit-and-run suspect, a missing UCSB faculty member and a naked man, but a report of Mission Canyon gunfire was wrong caliber of credible

This is beginning to look familiar.
This is beginning to look familiar. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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Rather than silently reading this column, just for kicks and giggles try shouting it all the way to the end. You know, like ... Stuart Mackenzie in So I Married an Axe Murderer.

In the meantime, according to our Google Analytics, there were 105,567 people who read Noozhawk this past week. This is my take on your top stories:

1. Motorcyclist Killed, Driver Arrested on DUI Charges in Orcutt Crash

For the second week in a row, and for the second year in a row during the same week, a fatal motorcycle crash was Noozhawk’​​s top story.

In the latest incident, a 22-year-old Santa Maria man was killed the night of July 17 when his motorcycle slammed into an SUV crossing in front of him in the 3400 block of Santa Maria Way near Bradley Road in Orcutt.

According to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Tim Santoro, the collision occurred about 8:20 p.m. when a Nissan Pathfinder turned left into an apartment complex driveway, right in front of the oncoming motorcycle.

The motorcyclist, later identified as Mario “​Duck”​ Coria-Gonzalez, was ejected on impact and declared dead at the scene.

The SUV driver — identified by the CHP as Garrett D. Alford, 31, of Orcutt — was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated causing injury or death.

“Alcohol or drugs appear to be a factor in this collision,” the CHP said in a statement.

The circumstances of the crash remain under investigation.

Coria-Gonzalez, described by his family as a budding chef, is survived by his 4-year-old son, Aiden Coria; girlfriend Michelle Arriaga and her daughter, Sophia; his mother and stepfather, Feliciana and Valentin DeLaCruz; his father, Mario Coria; and brothers Sergio and Willy.

A GoFundMe page has been established to assist the family. Click here to make an online donation.

A visitation will be held at 4 p.m. July 25 with a rosary at 6:30 p.m. at Dudley Hoffman Mortuary, 1003 E. Stowell Road in Santa Maria.

Funeral Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, 414 E. Church St., with burial to follow at Santa Maria Cemetery, 1501 S. College Drive.

2. Arrest Made in Fatal Hit-and-Run of Elderly Pedestrian Near Goleta

A suspect was arrested early on July 15 in the alleged hit-and-run crash that killed an 88-year-old Goleta man just 24 hours before.

Juan Aguilar Perez, thanks for stopping by. (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)
Juan Aguilar Perez, thanks for stopping by. (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

Authorities say Miguel Gutierrez-Vargas was walking in the 5100 block of San Lorenzo Drive, near Walnut Lane off Hollister Avenue, just before 6 a.m. July 14 when he was struck by a pickup truck.

The neighborhood resident was critically injured in the collision, and he was rushed by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jonathan Gutierrez said the pickup driver fled the scene, but witnesses were able to provide a brief description.

Early the next morning, 66-year-old Juan Aguilar Perez was arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and hit and run causing injuries or death, Gutierrez said.

Bail was set at $50,000.

3. Santa Barbara Police Locate Missing UCSB Professor

Three days after being reported missing, a UC Santa Barbara faculty member and KCSB radio deejay turned up safe, reportedly at a Pasadena hospital.

Angela Karmis has been part of the physics faculty at UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies. (Karmis family photo)
Angela Karmis has been part of the physics faculty at UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies. (Karmis family photo)

Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood said 32-year-old Angela Karmis was last seen about 8:45 p.m. July 17 in the 1500 block of West Valerio Street. She had been headed for San Andres and West Micheltorena streets, 1½ miles away.

A Facebook page dedicated to finding her announced July 20 that Karmis had been hospitalized in Pasadena, and Harwood confirmed that detectives had spoken to her by phone.

On a separate GoFundMe page, Karmis described herself as suffering from “overwhelming anxiety” and explained that she had attempted suicide July 15. She subsequently was hospitalized on a psychiatric hold.

“Though the hold (was) involuntary, there was no argument from me that it was necessary,” said Karmis, who is listed as a physics faculty member in UCSB’s College of Creative Studies.​

As of July 22, Karmis had raised $2,525 for her stated purpose of helping her “get my life back together.” Click here for more information.

A 9-1-1 report of a hit was a myth in this case. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)
A 9-1-1 report of a hit was a myth in this case. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

4. Santa Barbara Law Enforcement Determines No Shots Fired in Mission Canyon Incident​

A false report of a shooting in Mission Canyon on July 19 prompted a massive law enforcement response in the quiet Santa Barbara neighborhood.

“Around 3:20 p.m. we got a call from an individual who claimed he was being shot at,” Sheriff’​​s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

A phalanx of officers and equipment converged on Edgemound Drive in the foothills above Mission Canyon, but Hoover said the man was unhurt and possibly suffering from a mental health issue.

Sheriff’​​s deputies were joined by Santa Barbara police, the California Highway Patrol and a county Fire Department crew. A county helicopter, an SBPD armored BearCat vehicle and K-9 units also were deployed.

Sheriff’​​s Lt. Kevin Huddle said authorities received several calls about a possible fight and disturbance in the street, and one of the callers reported he had been shot and wounded.

Authorities set up a perimeter and safely made contact with the man. Huddle said he had no visible injuries and was either under the influence or having some sort of mental medical emergency.

“He was speaking about delusions that he had been shot and he had been in an argument,” he said.

The man, whose identity was not disclosed, was transported to the hospital for a medical evaluation, said Huddle, who added that there were no arrests in the incident.

The size of the cop contingent did not go unnoticed by readers, but it doesn’​​t bother me. In fact, I’​​d call it a necessary precaution. Only two days before, three police officers in Baton Rouge, La., were ambushed and assassinated by a suspect who may have lured them to the scene with a bogus 9-1-1 call.

5. Naked Man Rescued After Spending 2 Days on Hillside Near Lompoc

I just don’​​t know what it is about the Internet but, for some reason, the word “naked” is a popular search term. When we can use it in a headline, well, the articles practically click themselves.

Of course, the details alone made this too good of a story for our Tom Bolton to pass up. You’​​re glad he didn’​​t.

According to county Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni, a man — believed to be in his 30s or 40s and “very disoriented and dehydrated” — was rescued July 20 from a rugged hillside above Highways 1 and 246 near Lompoc.

Did I mention he was naked? Yep, loaded for bare.

Shortly before 5:30 p.m., Zaniboni said, two county fire engines and a California Highway Patrol helicopter were dispatched to the scene, which was in nearly inaccessible terrain about two miles from the nearest road.

The helicopter hoisted the nude dude to safety and landed on the highway so he could be transferred to a waiting American Medical Response ambulance. He then was taken to Lompoc Valley Medical Center for examination and treatment.

The man told his rescuers that he had been stranded for a couple of days. His identity was not disclosed, nor was the reason he was stuck there without a stitch of clothing.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Motorcyclist Killed in Head-On Collision on Highway 154 Just North of Santa Barbara.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

“What about the Twinkie?” One of the great scientific discussions of all time: Calculating the Ghostbusters Twinkie in Real Life.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

Doggone it, I know you have a thirst for knowledge. Next week, I’ll try to figure out why dogs drool.

(Discover Magazine 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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