Pixel Tracker

Sunday, December 9 , 2018, 1:05 pm | Fair 66º


Bill Macfadyen: Fatal Fall Through Skylight Fuels Reader Demand for Facts

Officer-involved shooting, shark attacks, a fatal forklift collision and a drive-through attempt at Petrini's Italian Restaurant round out NoozWeek's Top 5

What were you reading on Noozhawk this week?

1. Worker Falls to Death Through Skylight at Goleta Business

For news organizations, among the most challenging stories to report are those that break late on a Friday afternoon before a three-day holiday weekend. The public's demand for information doesn't take time off, but the official infrastructure needed to confirm, corroborate and explain certain aspects tends to have scampered away.

Such was the case Aug. 30 when our executive editor, Tom Bolton, got a tip that a worker had fallen to his death through a skylight at a Goleta office building. Although he was able to quickly get the basics from Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, even she didn't have much more to go on.

Hoover confirmed that the incident had been reported at 4:45 p.m. and that county firefighters, sheriff's deputies and paramedics had arrived to find the man dead of his injuries. The Coroner’s Office was investigating, officials were notifying the family, and that was going to be about it until the world returned to work Tuesday.

It wasn't nearly enough for our readers, who kept returning to our exclusive story all weekend while bombarding us with questions we simply couldn't answer definitively.

First thing Sept. 3, our Gina Potthoff began following up and confirmed that the worker was a painter, 53-year-old Oscar Rivera of Castaic. According to Hoover, the independent contractor had been hired by the property owner and he was on the roof when he crashed through the skylight of the building, in the 7400 block of Hollister Avenue. She declined to identify Rivera's employer.

The building is leased by Moog Inc., which designs and supplies aircraft and related accessories. The company was closed at the time of the incident.

In addition to the Coroner’s Office, Rivera's death is being investigated by the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).

Santa Barbara police are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting that happened Sept. 1 near the intersection of De la Vina and Victoria streets. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
Santa Barbara police are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting that happened Sept. 1 near the intersection of De la Vina and Victoria streets. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

2. Officer Shoots, Kills Knife-Wielding Man in Santa Barbara

A man brandishing a “large fixed-blade knife” was shot and killed by a Santa Barbara police officer late on the night of Sept. 1 after officials say the suspect failed to comply with the officer's commands to put down the weapon.

Lt. Todd Stoney said the officer had attempted to conduct a “pedestrian contact” of a suspect who was walking near De la Vina and Victoria streets around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. He said the officer fired after the man “advanced on the officer while brandishing the knife."

The suspect, later identified as Brian Tacadena, 46, of Santa Barbara, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The shooting is under investigation.

Noozhawk has made a California Public Records Act request for the police incident report and video from the patrol car’s dashboard camera system. That request is pending before the City Attorney.

Welcome to Amity Island, er, Santa Barbara. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
Welcome to Amity Island Santa Barbara. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

3. Warning Signs Go Up at Local Beaches After Sharks Attack Sea Lions

Just in time for the sweltering Labor Day weekend, great white sharks made their presence felt in Santa Barbara with attacks on two sea lions, otherwise known as seafood. Local officials quickly posted notices warning swimmers to enter the water at their own risk.

According to Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Sgt. Ed Stetson, one dead sea lion washed up at Arroyo Burro Beach on Aug. 31. He told our Lara Cooper that a second one — injured but alive — was discovered a day later near a harbor entrance buoy with a shark-sized bite taken out of its hide.

Stetson was matter of fact about the circumstances.

"That's their normal prey," he said of sharks dining on sea lions. "That's what they do."

A Santa Maria family was left devastated by this horrific collision on a farm road east of the city. (Larry Terrones photo)
A Santa Maria family was left devastated by this horrific collision on a farm road east of the city. (Larry Terrones photo)

4. Manslaughter, DUI Charges Filed in Fatal Forklift Crash Near Santa Maria

Philbric Road east of Santa Maria is mostly flat, mostly straight and mostly crosses miles of open agricultural land. Tragically, the open road wasn't open nearly enough Aug. 29 when a forklift operator slammed his rig into an oncoming car, killing two people and seriously injuring two others.

Daniel Castillo
Daniel Castillo

According to the California Highway Patrol, Daniel Castillo, 37, of Santa Maria, was driving a large forklift on the road when he turned left toward a field and struck a northbound Honda Civic, shearing off the roof and driving it into a drainage ditch.

CHP Officer Craig Carrier said the car's driver, Adolfo Pozos Carrasco, 18, and a passenger in the left rear seat, Casilda Diaz Pozos, 49, both of Santa Maria, were declared dead at the scene. Two other female passengers — Mayte Carrasco, 40, and Celiset Pozos, 19, also of Santa Maria — suffered major injuries, with one airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and the other rushed to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

Castillo was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and DUI, both felonies, and was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail.

The District Attorney's Office has charged him with two felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, two counts of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol causing injury, and great bodily injury. Bail is set at $250,000.

Take out the food, not the wall! No one was injured when this car crashed into Petrini's Italian Restaurant, 5711 Calle Real in Goleta. (John Palminteri / KEYT News photo)
Take out the food, not the wall! No one was injured when this car crashed into Petrini's Italian Restaurant, 5711 Calle Real in Goleta. (John Palminteri / KEYT News photo)

5. Driver Crashes into Petrini's Restaurant in Goleta

Whether in Goleta or Santa Barbara, Petrini’s Italian Restaurant will never be mistaken for a fast-food joint. First-timers are welcomed warmly. Go there more than once and you're considered family. Many employees can measure loyal locals by generations — and know most of the names.

Before lunch and dinner, there can be a mad rush as frequent diners race to the place for their Italian fix. That may have been the case about 11:15 a.m. Sept. 2, when a driver of a sedan apparently hit the gas instead of the brake and rolled his car into the Goleta Petrini's at 5711 Calle Real.

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said the elderly driver and his passenger were shaken but uninjured. No one else was hurt, although the wall took a pretty good lick.

Petrini’s owner Joe Bohnett said the couple, restaurant regulars, was driven home by staff after their car was towed.

“The car decided to make us a drive-through,” he joked to our Gina Potthoff.

After quick repairs to the building, Petrini's reopened Sept. 3. Hoover said there would be no further investigation into the crash.

                                                                          •        •

My neighbor, Rivers Ingersoll, is a Stanford University grad student involved in groundbreaking research on the biomechanics of flight. He's part of Stanford's LentinkLab, a fascinating project led by assistant mechanical engineering professor David Lentink.

Rivers' focus is exploring the aerodynamic force measurement of freely hovering hummingbirds, and you will not believe what he and his team have been able to capture in this video.

By the way, he's the son of local educators Whitney and Bob Ingersoll, and a graduate of Crane Country Day School, Santa Barbara Middle School, Santa Barbara High School and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

(Kurt Hickman / Stanford University video)

                                                                  •        •        •

There were 74,111 people who read Noozhawk this past week. If you value our unmatched breaking news and in-depth reporting on the issues that you care about, please support our experienced staff of professional journalists and help us continue to provide a vital forum for the community.

How can you help?

» Join our Hawks Club.

Membership Options

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 A.M. Report.

» 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.

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 using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • 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 >

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.