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Bill Macfadyen: ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ Hits the Streets of Santa Barbara

Burglary suspect takes a shot at freedom, while NoozWeek's Top 5 hunts 4 stabbing suspects, confronts the Obamacare reality, and tracks a train collision survivor

What were you reading on Noozhawk this week?

1. Three Injured as Police Chase Ends in Crash in Santa Barbara

A high-speed chase involving a stolen truck ended in a spectacular collision Oct. 7, but the pursuit continued on foot before the suspect was captured blocks away from the crash scene. Three people were injured, including a 6-year-old boy.

Evan Githens: Running on empty.
Evan Githens: Running on empty.

The chase began just before 4 p.m. when Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies and Santa Barbara police spotted the truck on northbound Highway 101 before Carrillo Street in downtown Santa Barbara. The vehicle — a white Chevy work truck — had been reported stolen in Ventura earlier that day.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said the truck took the Carrillo exit, turned south on Castillo Street and sped down to Haley Street, where it re-entered the freeway and traveled north to the Arrellaga Street exit.

At the intersection of Arrellaga and De la Vina streets, the truck slammed into a small SUV and a Jeep, propelling the Jeep across the sidewalk and into a front yard.

Hoover said the shirtless driver of the truck ran off down De la Vina, "hopping fences and running through back yards." With the help of a county helicopter, he was captured a short while later near the intersection of De la Vina and Victoria streets.

The suspect — identified as Evan Githens, 28, of Santa Barbara — will be facing charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property, child endangerment, felony evasion and numerous traffic violations, as well as a parole violation, Hoover said.

She said a woman and two boys — ages 6 and 4 — were in the truck with Githens, and the older child was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries. The woman, reportedly Githens' girlfriend, was released after questioning.

The drivers of the other two vehicles involved in the wreck also were transported to the hospital, but Hoover said the extent of their injuries was not known at the time.

Githens is being held at the County Jail, with bail set at $100,000.

2. Burglary Suspect Critically Wounded Near Carpinteria

A suspect in a Carpinteria break-in was shot by a sheriff's deputy Oct. 6 as he allegedly tried to steal a patrol car and flee the scene.

Jeremy Leon Bordegaray tried to make a clean getaway, and failed.
Jeremy Leon Bordegaray tried to make a clean getaway, and failed.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said deputies were called that night to a residence in the 3200 block of Beach Club Road, a private street off Padaro Lane, in response to a report of a trespasser.

Inside the house, the deputies discovered a man later identified as Jeremy Leon Bordegaray, 29, of Cayucos. A subsequent search turned up a loaded handgun in his backpack, Hoover said.

The real excitement began after Bordegaray was handcuffed and placed in the back of the patrol car.

"At around 9:30 p.m. the suspect ... knocked out the plexiglass partition, and gained access to the front of the patrol car, which contained several loaded law enforcement firearms," Hoover said. "He attempted to flee by driving the patrol car from the area."

Deputies gave chase, and Bordegaray was shot by one of the pursuing officers.

The shooting is under investigation by the department, Hoover said, and the case will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for review. The deputy, whose identity has not been disclosed, has been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.

Bordegaray was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and was still in critical condition as of Oct. 8.

His health may be the least of his worries, however. Once he gets out, he faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon against a peace officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm, possession with the intent to sell methamphetamine, a parole violation, trespassing, resisting arrest and providing false information to a peace officer, Hoover said.

3. Four Suspects Sought in Isla Vista Attack

Authorities are searching for four suspects in an Isla Vista assault that sent two people to the hospital in the wee hours of Oct. 5.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said the attack occurred at 12:15 a.m. in 6500 block of Del Playa Drive west of the UC Santa Barbara campus. Deputies and officers from the Isla Vista Foot Patrol arrived to find two victims, one of whom had been stabbed and the other who had been conked in the head by a bottle.

Hoover said the suspects — three males and a female — ran off after the attack, which remains under investigation.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the UCSB Police Department at 805.893.3446 or the Sheriff's Department tip line.

4. UCSB Employees Protesting Health Insurance Changes

Faculty at UC Santa Barbara have become the latest group of Americans to choke on the words, “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan." Who could have seen that coming?

The University of California System has decided to downsize its medical benefits plans, beginning Jan. 1. Details of the new insurance coverage drew a collective raspberry from UCSB employees who liked their health insurance plan and expected to keep it — but evidently believed that all of the cool, new features of Obamacare would be paid for by somebody else.

Apparently, the more desirable of UC's new options won't be accepted by Cottage Health System and Sansum Clinic, and the UCSB folks aren't happy.

“People were really pissed off,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, a history professor and president of the UCSB Faculty Association. “The University of California has eliminated the main insurance company that most people use here. In doing so, they may be saving some money, but they’re leaving Santa Barbara out on a limb.”

Dude, welcome to the real world. Here's your sign.

5. Woman Hit by Train, Critically Injured Near Carpinteria

A Los Angeles woman walking on the railroad tracks near Rincon Point was struck by an Amtrak passenger train the evening of Oct. 9. Amazingly, she survived the collision and was hospitalized in stable condition.

The woman was hit by the southbound train just afer 6:30 p.m. near the Bates Road undercrossing of Highway 101 east of Carpinteria, according to Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover. Details were scant and Hoover said the incident remains under investigation.

The identity of the 47-year-old woman has not been released.

                                                                          •        •

Last week I told you that Kim Clark, one of my partners and our vice president of business development, was in Chicago for the Local Independent Online News Publishers summit. She returned this week, bubbling with ideas for improvements — several of which we're already exploring.

In the meantime, it was nice to see Noozhawk — actually, Scoop — get some recognition from the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, a longtime supporter of the cause. Click here for RJI executive director Randy Picht's report on sustainability and survivability for those of us in the LIONs den.

                                                                          •        •

Have you taken Noozhawk's Readership Survey yet? Hundreds of readers have already shared their opinions with us, but we'd really like to have yours, too. Click here to participate. Thanks.

                                                                          •        •

Isn't it amazing what someone will do when he can't bunt? Go Dodgers.

(MLB.com 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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