Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 9:53 pm | Partly Cloudy 53º


Local News

Bill Macfadyen: Deadly Motorcycle Wreck Slows Montecito Crawl to a Full Stop

NoozWeek’​​s Top 5 skirts a prostitution sting, slams into a head-on crash, falls down a hill, and issues a BOLO for a pickup truck driver in a fatal hit-and-run in Goleta

I think we know how this ends.
I think we know how this ends. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)


While waiting for the Republican National Circus to begin, 99,551 people were reading Noozhawk this past week, according to our Google Analytics.

Here’​​s my own take on your top stories:

1. Fatal Accident Snarls Southbound Highway 101 Traffic in Santa Barbara

A 27-year-old motorcyclist lost a collision with two trucks on Highway 101 in Montecito, and died of his injuries from the July 11 crash.

The California Highway Patrol said David Joseph Irwin of Norco was riding his 2015 Yamaha motorcycle southbound when the wreck occurred near the Olive Mill Road exit about 3:30 p.m.

The CHP is investigating the cause of the collision, which also involved a Kenworth light-duty box truck and a Chevy pickup. There were no arrests, and it was not known if alcohol or drugs were involved.

The congested area is known as the Montecito Crawl, and motorcyclists regularly can be seen lane-splitting through the stop-and-go traffic.

Irwin suffered severe injuries that ​“required immediate medical attention,” according to Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Jim McCoy.

He was transported by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he died.

The box truck driver — Eric Davis, 36, of Visalia — and the the pickup driver — Patrick Cockrill, 56, of Long Beach — were unhurt, according to the CHP.

The wreck occurred just as the afternoon commute was getting started, backing up freeway traffic for hours and clogging surface streets through Montecito.

2. 20 Arrested at Goleta Hotel in Prostitution Sting Using Online Classified Ads

Local law enforcement running a prostitution sting through a popular classified advertising website hit pay dirt when 20 men went looking for love in one of the wrong places.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said sheriff’s detectives and Santa Barbara police conducted a reverse “John” sting operation July 7-8 at a Goleta hotel.

“The sting involved investigators placing an online ad on Backpage.com, a website known for online prostitution-related advertisements,” she said. “Once the ad was placed, a female undercover detective negotiated with an inquiring person or ‘John’ a sexual act for an amount of money.”

When the unwitting customer arrived at the hotel room, well, let’s just say the experience was deflating.

All 20 men — ranging in age from 20 to 66, and not one named John, in case you were wondering — were booked into County Jail on solicitation of prostitution charges.

Since half these guys will be contacting me in 18-24 months, pleading for Noozhawk to scrub their names from our story — an action we cannot and will not take — I’ll do them a solid now and not include their identities in my column. You can click here for the list, however.

Impact zone. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
Impact zone. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

3. Two Suffer Major Injuries in Head-On Collision in Western Goleta

A thunderous head-on collision on Cathedral Oaks Road in Goleta the evening of July 8 left both drivers with major injuries and their vehicles little more than scrap heaps.

The road was closed for a couple of hours while authorities cleaned up the mess and investigated the scene.

According to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni, a Mercedes-Benz sedan and a pickup truck collided about 6:30 p.m. near Winchester Canyon Road.

Firefighters had to extricate both drivers — a woman in her 40s from the sedan and a man in his 50s from the pickup — and both were transported by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the cause and circumstances of the wreck.

This night was all a blur. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)
This night was all a blur. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

4. Santa Barbara Firefighters Rescue Man Who Tumbled Down Mesa Hillside

The night of July 11 was a doozy for a man who seemed to be on quite a roll. And not the good kind.

Emergency personnel were dispatched to the 400 block of Loma Alta Drive about 10:25 p.m. after neighbors on the Mesa reported a man talking loudly and creating a disturbance.

First to arrive on the scene were police officers who found the guy “kind of rolling around on the ground,” according to Fire Capt. Barrett Hoffman. He said the man, who “could have been altered,” promptly rolled over the edge of the roadway and down the steep hillside, landing in brush about 75 feet below the street.

Hoffman said firefighters rigged up a rope system and rescued the victim with the help of a Stokes basket.

The man complained of back pain and was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. His identity and condition were not disclosed.

5. Elderly Pedestrian Struck, Critically Injured in Hit-Run Near Goleta

An 88-year-old Goleta man was struck by a pickup truck as he was crossing the street near his home early on July 14, suffering major injuries that ultimately would take his life.

Authorities say the driver fled the scene, and they’re asking for the public’s help to locate the suspect vehicle.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Miguel Gutierrez-Vargas was hit as he was walking in the 5100 block of San Lorenzo Drive, near Walnut Lane off Hollister Avenue, just before 6 a.m.

County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said the victim was rushed by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where Cottage Health spokeswoman Maria Zate told Noozhawk that he was in critical condition.

Hours later, however, the CHP confirmed that Gutierrez-Vargas had died of his injuries.

The vehicle is described as a maroon Chevy pickup truck and it was last seen turning onto nearby Andy Lane, from which there are several ways out of the neighborhood. The CHP said the truck will have front-end damage.

Anyone with information is asked to call law enforcement at 805.477.4174.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Students Protest End of D’Penguineers Robotics Team at Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Just passing through, but well worth the trip: Google Street View Images You Won’t Want to Miss.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

In a show of strength, “old” guys rule.

(Mark video)

                                                                  •        •        •

How You Can Help Noozhawk

If you really like what you’re seeing on Noozhawk, you can help support our work by joining our Hawks Club. High-quality journalism doesn’t come cheap, and each donation helps us continue to provide you with unmatched local news and in-depth reporting on the issues that you care about.

How can you help? It’s easy.

» Join our Hawks Club.


Red-Tailed Hawk, $5 a month; Cooper’s Hawk, $10 a month; Red-Shouldered Hawk, $25 a month; Birds of a Feather, $52 a year.

Checks can be snail-mailed to Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102.

» .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or market your business, organization, service or event.

» Subscribe to our free daily e-Bulletins.

» Display your Noozhawk pride with a 3-inch-square Noozhawk sticker. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Noozhawk Promotions, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102. The free stickers — as well as full-sized bumper stickers and pens — also are available at Noozhawk World Headquarters, 1327-A State St., by the historic Arlington Theatre.

» Like us on Facebook.

» Follow us on Twitter.

Please note that personal contributions to Noozhawk are not deductible as charitable donations.

Thank you for your support.

— 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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >