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Local News

Bill Macfadyen: Earthquake Makes Its Presence Felt in Santa Barbara County

A dead man in a creekbed, a frightful bike collision, a fatal confrontation on a San Diego County Indian reservation and the requisite rollover crash round out NoozWeek’s Top 5


We’ll be launching the first voting round of our Noozhawk Asks “public-powered journalism” project next week, after receiving scores of truly great questions and suggestions from Noozhawk readers.

Our plan is to have a survey of four or five of the submissions that merit more in-depth reporting from our team. You’ll vote, and we’ll assign a reporter to dig into the winning entry.

We’ll also begin posting answers to the vast majority of your submitted questions, since most of those require little more than an email, a phone call or some quick web research on our part.

As a reminder, Noozhawk is a hyperlocal news organization, so please stay local with your suggestions. What kind of nuclear technology North Korea is employing is a good question, but until the missiles start landing on the South Coast, I think we’ll leave that topic to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

We’re also not likely to be doing anything with anonymous posts. If we’re going to invite you all into our news room, as it were, we want to know who you are. I think that’s a fair trade-off.

I’m excited about Noozhawk Asks and the Hearken platform behind it, and we look forward to fully integrating it into our news operation and coverage of our community. We believe you’re going to like it, too.

Meanwhile, Noozhawk had 117,440 readers this past week, according to the classified Google Analytics that I am empowered to share — and that we post on our website anyway.

Here’s my take on your Top 5 stories:

1. Earthquake Measuring 4.1 Rattles Santa Barbara County’s South Coast

A 4.1-magnitude earthquake gave a late-night jolt to Santa Barbara County’s South Coast on May 16. No damage or injuries were reported.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake struck at 9:42 p.m. and was centered in the ocean about 10 miles west of Isla Vista, at a depth of about 1½ miles.

Locals reported feeling a sharp jolt, lasting 3-4 seconds. The earthquake also was felt in Lompoc and the Santa Ynez Valley. I missed it entirely, having dozed off as part of my pre-bedtime nap.

An aftershock of 3.1 was reported about a minute after the initial quake, followed by two smaller aftershocks — of 2.2 and 2.0.

Earthquakes are always good for a burst of site traffic, and this one was the first real test of Noozhawk’s powerful new web servers. I’m happy to report that we handled more than 6,000 readers in the hour after the earthquake, without the need for some kind of a note acknowledging something or other.

In fact, 900 readers hit the site the minute our Tom Bolton posted Noozhawk’s story, and our Google Analytics reported instant access.

Creek patrol. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
Creek patrol. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

2. Santa Barbara Police Investigating After Body Found in Mission Creek

A dead man was discovered the afternoon of May 13 in Santa Barbara’s Mission Creek, not far from the West Arrellaga Street bridge between Highway 101 and Castillo Street.

Santa Barbara police Sgt. Andy Hill said the body was found just before 2 p.m. in the creek’s concrete channel. He said there were no external signs of trauma and foul play was not suspected.

Santa Barbara County coroner’s personnel were dispatched to the scene, which is near a northbound bus stop.

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover told our Giana Magnoli that the man had been identified as Daniel Smith, a 29-year-old transient formerly from Santa Maria.

3. Cyclist Critically Injured in Collision With Trash Truck in Santa Barbara

An elite runner and elliptical cyclist was critically injured in a bicycle collision early on May 15 in the foothills above Santa Barbara.

Brandon Birdsong is facing a difficult road to recovery after a cycling collision with a trash truck. (GoFundMe photo)
Brandon Birdsong is facing a difficult road to recovery after a cycling collision with a trash truck. (GoFundMe photo)

According to Santa Barbara Fire Capt. Brian Porter, the cyclist was riding downhill in the 900 block of Mountain Drive about 7:45 a.m. He said it appeared the man took too wide of a turn on one of the road’s blind switchbacks and ran smack into a MarBorg Industries trash truck coming up the street.

There’s no question how that collision turns out.

Porter said the cyclist — later identified as Brandon Birdsong, a 2016 qualifier in the half-marathon at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials — suffered major injuries to his head, neck and chest, with a possible collapsed lung and numerous broken bones.

He was rushed by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The MarBorg driver was not injured — physically anyway.

Friends of Birdsong have established a GoFundMe page to help with his medical expenses. Click here to make an online donation.

A native of Lubbock, Texas, Birdsong competed in cross country at both the University of Texas at Austin and Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., where he earned All-American honors and led the team to its third-straight national title in 2010.

He apparently took up elliptical cycling as a cross-training method to stay active after a previous injury.

Santa Barbara police are investigating the collision.

4. Santa Barbara Man Shot and Killed by San Diego County Deputies

A Santa Barbara man was shot and killed by San Diego County sheriff’s deputies May 10 during a bizarre confrontation on the Barona Indian Reservation northeast of San Diego.

According to sheriff’s Lt. Greg Rylaarsdam, Barona tribal police called for backup around 1:30 p.m. to help stop a reckless driver who was racing around the reservation. The suspect reportedly had tried to strike a tribal police officer with his pickup truck.

Rylaarsdam said a deputy pulled over the suspect, later identified as Jeroen Peter Koornwinder, 50, of Santa Barbara, but he was uncooperative and fled the scene, injuring the deputy as he sped away.

After a 10-minute chase — on reservation roadways as well as through fields — the suspect came to a halt and got out of the truck as deputies were maneuvering to attempt a high-risk traffic stop.

Rylaarsdam said the man was “extremely agitated and uncooperative with deputies,” who tried in vain to subdue him by shooting him with less-lethal beanbag guns as other officers unsuccessfully sought to disable the pickup with a tire-deflation device.

Despite the barrage, the guy was able to get back into the truck and off he went.

Moments later, deputies were trying the tire-deflation ruse again when Rylaarsdam said the suspect accelerated toward them.

“Two deputies fired at Koornwinder to prevent him from hitting their partners,” he said.

The pickup truck crashed into a sheriff’s patrol vehicle, knocking it into a tribal police Jeep. Rylaarsdam said the suspect then drove around the wreckage and collided with a Lexus sedan before running off the road.

Koornwinder was pronounced dead at the scene with gunshot wounds to the chest and upper torso.

Two women in the sedan were transported to the hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries, and a teenage girl was treated at the scene. The three are all reservation residents.

The incident — including the officer-involved shooting — remains under investigation. It was not known why Koornwinder was in San Diego County.

Well, that was over the top. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
Well, that was over the top. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

5. 2 People Hurt in 2-Vehicle Collision in Goleta

A May 16 collision between a pickup truck and a sedan left two people injured and the truck upside down on its roof at a Goleta intersection.

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the crash occurred at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of Cathedral Oaks Road and North Fairview Avenue.

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the cause and circumstances of the wreck, and few details have been released so far.

A woman, one of two people in the sedan, was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with moderate injuries, Zaniboni said.

He said the pickup driver, a man in his 20s, suffered minor injuries but declined treatment.

                                                                 •        •        •

Good Nooz

Courtney Crosby and Turner Conrad, two-thirds of the victims of last week’s Best of Bill lead story, have been released from the hospital. The couple was injured in a May 5 helicopter crash at La Cumbre Country Club.

The Westmont College women’s volleyball team posted the announcement on its Instagram feed, and reported that the two Westmont alums are battered and bruised, but expected to make a full recovery.

Crosby, Class of 2017, played on the Golden State Athletic Conference champion volleyball team, and Conrad, Class of ’16, played baseball for the Warriors.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Scooter Rider Critically Injured in Crash on Mesa in Santa Barbara.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

No. Just no: The RompHim™ — Your New Favorite Summer Outfit.

                                                                  •        •        •

Watch It

This Bud’s for 2. A classy act for a Class Act.

(budweiser 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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