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Bill Macfadyen: Pedestrian Dies of Injuries from Trolley Collision, But What Actually Happened?

NoozWeek’s Top 5 tracks a fatal flight, rings up another Santa Maria homicide, shivers through Thanksgiving, and ... Paula Lopez

Emergency personnel blanketed the scene of a collision between an MTD Santa Barbara electric trolley and a pedestrian Nov. 23 on Anacapa Street near Sola Street.
Emergency personnel blanketed the scene of a collision between an MTD Santa Barbara electric trolley and a pedestrian Nov. 23 on Anacapa Street near Sola Street. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

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If you can read this, I’​m guessing you survived Black Friday.

Meanwhile, there were 87,344​ people who read Noozhawk this past week. Here’s my take on your top stories:

1. Pedestrian Dies After Being Struck by MTD Trolley in Downtown Santa Barbara

A Michigan man was hit by an MTD Santa Barbara downtown trolley the evening of Nov. 23 as he crossed Anacapa Street near Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church at Sola Street.

He was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, but later died of his injuries.

According to Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood, 66-year-old Michigan resident Ratan Bahadur Lamichhane and two companions were walking up Anacapa on the north sidewalk when he ran across the dark street toward State Street.

“For some reason, he crossed the street westbound, running across the street, and entered the roadway in very close proximity to the MTD shuttle,” Harwood said.

“The driver braked but a collision still occurred.”

The trolley driver gave a voluntary blood sample, but Harwood said alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be factors.

Police are investigating the circumstances of the crash, he said.

2. Santa Barbara Pilot in Fatal Crash Near Palm Springs Was Trying to Avoid Tall Peak, NTSB Says

Pilot Bob Trimble and his passenger, Terri Day, both employees of Santa Barbara’s Accurate Aviation, were flying home from Palm Springs the afternoon of Oct. 17 when their small plane slammed into the side of Mount San Gorgonio, killing both.

Tracing pilot Bob Trimble’s last flight leaves a range of unanswered — and unanswerable — questions. (Accurate Aviation photo)
Tracing pilot Bob Trimble’s last flight leaves a range of unanswered — and unanswerable — questions. (Accurate Aviation photo)

Our Tom Bolton got his hands on the preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report on the crash investigation, and the radio transcripts of the transmissions between Trimble and the flight controller are sobering. Knowing how the story ends makes them all the more heart-rending.

According to the NTSB, Trimble was at the controls of the single-engine Piper PA28 and was attempting to navigate around the 11,503-foot mountain, Southern California’s highest peak.

Inexplicably, he apparently didn’t see what he was up against until it was too late.

The plane crashed at an elevation of 7,200 feet and burst into flames. Day and Trimble are believed to have died instantly.

A lifelong pilot and decorated Vietnam War veteran, Trimble was operating under visual flight rules and had not filed a flight plan prior to the crash. The NTSB report was created, in part, from radio and radar data from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Trimble, 71, and Day, 50, had flown to Palm Springs International Airport that morning to attend an event at the Palm Springs Air Museum, where they had hand-delivered some war memorabilia.

Day was Accurate Aviation’s human resources and training manager, and recently had become engaged to the company’s president, Tom McGregor.

Trimble, Accurate Aviation’s general manager, also was a Santa Barbara City College faculty member in the Department of Alcohol and Drug Counseling and was active in the local recovery community.

R.I.P.

Santa Maria police officers and detectives swarmed the area of South Thornburg Street and West Enos Drive on Nov. 20 after a teenager was found shot to death. It was the city’s 10 homicide of 2015. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Santa Maria police officers and detectives swarmed the area of South Thornburg Street and West Enos Drive on Nov. 20 after a teenager was found shot to death. It was the city’s 10 homicide of 2015. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

3. 1 Dead, 4 Wounded in Santa Maria Shooting Spree​

Over the last several months, at almost every speaking opportunity I’ve had before local clubs and groups throughout Santa Barbara County, one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is ... “What the hell is going on in Santa Maria?”

After the city recorded its 10th homicide of the year Nov. 20, I don’t suppose the question is going away any time soon.

That Friday night carnage included the shooting death of 17-year-old Ulises Garcia-Mendez, who was gunned down in the 1500 block of South Thornburg Street near West Enos Drive. Two other people were wounded in the encounter.

Two more people ended up in local hospitals after two additional shootings, one in the 1200 block of West Bethel Lane off South Blosser Road and the other near North Dejoy Street and West Cox Lane, south of West Donovan Road.

Authorities believe the three incidents are gang-related, and officials stepped up the weekend’s police presence.

Sgt. Jesus Valle said extra officers were on patrol and known gang members were being “contacted” in an effort to head off further violence.

In spite of the outreach, a fourth shooting was reported early Nov. 22 in the 1100 block of West Williams Street, a couple of blocks east of North Blosser Road. No one was hurt, however.

Anyone with information about any of the incidents is asked to contact police at 805.928.3781 x2277.

Garcia-Mendez’s murder is Santa Maria’s 10th of the year. According to police, six of them are gang-related.

Meanwhile, my standard reply to my questioners is, “Don’t ask me. Only Mayor Alice Patino, Councilman Jack Boysen, Councilman Bob Orach, Councilwoman Etta Waterfield, Councilwoman Terri Zuniga and Police Chief Ralph Martin can answer that.”

Their contact information can be found in the links.

4. Cold Temperatures, Showers Expected for Thanksgiving Holiday in Santa Barbara County

Well, Thanksgiving week was cold even if it didn’t end up being wet. We just report the forecast; we don’t control it.

5. Paula Lopez DUI Court Case Continued Until January

Noozhawk readers are well aware that, when it comes to Paula Lopez, even no news is news. You’ve made the former KEYT and KCOY news anchor a fixture of these columns every time she’s found herself on the wrong side of the story.

See you next year. (Santa Barbara County Jail file photo)
See you next year. (Santa Barbara County Jail file photo)

Her latest appearance is no exception.

Lopez was arrested Sept. 8 at Sandpiper Golf Course, at 7925 Hollister Ave. in Goleta, and charged with driving under the influence and assaulting peace officers.

California Highway Patrol officers found the 50-year-old mother of three in the parking lot while checking into 9-1-1 reports of a wrong-way driver on Highway 101 west of Goleta.

Authorities allege that Lopez was behind the wheel of a silver Toyota Prius that had been reported traveling southbound in the northbound lanes near El Capitán State Beach.

She was supposed to be arraigned Nov. 20 in Superior Court Judge Tom Anderle’s courtroom, but her case was continued until January.

We’ll follow up then, and we know you will, too. 

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our top story this time last year? Santa Barbarans Take to Streets to Protest Grand Jury Decision in Ferguson, Mo., Police Shooting.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Except for the way Alan Mcfadyen spells his name, my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web has found the picture of perfection: After 6 Years and 720,000 Attempts, Photographer Finally Takes Perfect Shot of Kingfisher.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

Imagine if Isla Vista had canals.

(Isabelle Harder 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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