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Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 8:33 am | Overcast 49º


Santa Barbara Police, Kiwanis Club Join Forces to Honor Extraordinary Citizens

Recipients of the Extra Step Awards are recognized for their heroic efforts on behalf of law enforcement and the community

When Santa Barbara police Officer Ethan Ragsdale saw a fellow officer get “linebacker tackled” by a highly intoxicated man downtown one night, he was worried they would both get seriously injured.

That’s when Daniel Green, the head of security for Wildcat Lounge, came to their aid, according to Ragsdale.

Green has helped police with multiple cases downtown over the years and helps keep the local nightlife safe, he said. Ragsdale was never so happy to see Green as that night in the alley, when he was struggling to handcuff the man.

He was with a newer officer and she got tackled into a wall in the alleyway next to Wildcat. When Ragsdale tried to arrest the man, he also got attacked.

“I think Dan just picked the guy up by his foot and said, ‘So what do you want to do with him?’” Ragsdale said. “Without his aid, I don’t know what we would have done. I probably would have been seriously injured, and the suspect would have fled after injuring two police officers.”

Green was one of the extraordinary citizens honored Wednesday with Extra Step Awards from the Police Department and the Kiwanis Club. These people put in extra effort to help local law enforcement, police Sgt. Riley Harwood said.

William Barbaree and Nicholas McGilvray pulled over at a brutal accident scene after a DUI driver hit a motorcycle carrying two Canadian tourists. James and Ellen Atwood each lost limbs but both survived, thanks to the fast-acting duo who used wreckage from the accident to place tourniquets.

“I’ve never been happier to see two people on the side of the road in my entire life,” Officer Heather Clark said.

Barbaree, a Cottage Hospital surgery tech, and Barbaree, a former Army Ranger, were strangers but worked in sync to help both victims at the scene. They still keep in touch with the Atwoods, who credit these young men with saving their lives. The driver, who was under the influence of prescription drugs at the time of the collision, was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Extra Step
Officer Heather Clark nominated William Barbaree, center, and Nicholas McGilvray for their lifesaving efforts when they pulled over to help Jim and Ellen Atwood of Canada, who were struck by a DUI driver in 2013 while riding a motorcycle down Old Coast Highway near Montecito. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

Officer Jaycee Hunter nominated the three witnesses who followed the suspect car after they saw Raymond Morua hit 27-year-old Santa Barbara woman Mallory Dies and leave the scene. Morua has pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, great bodily injury and fleeing the scene and will serve 20 years to life in prison.

Hunter, the traffic investigator for SBPD, said video shows Morua speeding up and blowing through a red light on Anacapa Street before hitting Dies, who was crossing the street with three friends.

Devin Shaw, Eva Pagaling and Steffanie Colgate were driving in the area and saw the accident. Morua’s car came to a stop, backed up to get around Dies’ body and kept driving, Hunter said.

Shaw shouted out his window for Morua to drive back to the scene, but Morua shook his head, Hunter said.

These three went in pursuit, following him down to the dead-end of Anacapa Street and then down to the waterfront, when he drove down State Street and ultimately hit a palm tree at Cabrillo Boulevard.

A bouncer at the scene got two digits of the license plate, but that may not have been enough to find the suspect if Shaw, Pagaling and Colgate hadn’t followed the car.

“If our heroes hadn’t chased him down, I can’t promise you guys I would have found him,” Hunter said.

Santa Barbara High School track coach Thomas Eck was honored for stopping a man from stealing a van and potentially running over a group of student athletes and crowd of people leaving a meet at Santa Barbara City College.

The man had earlier been confronted and removed from the grounds for stealing a backpack, but he came back and tried to steal Santa Barbara High’s van, which was unlocked and running as Eck loaded equipment in the back, Officer John Reyes said.

“It was a situation on the verge of becoming deadly” when the man tried to put the van into gear and get away, Reyes said.

Eck was able to open the door, wrestle the gear shifter back to park and pull the man out of the van. Several others ran over to help — including Ventura’s coach and San Marcos High shotput coach Juan Carlos Toral — and five people had to pin the man down until police arrived.

Officer Rich Washington nominated Scott Houston, who was the only bystander to help pin down a bank robbery suspect. Washington had spotted the suspect trying to change clothes and chased him when he made a run for it. Washington tackled the suspect and was fought off twice, Officer Kasi Beutel said.

“Mr. Houston here drove up and said, ‘Do you need some help?’” she said.

There were plenty of people on the scene as Washington was fighting the suspect in the street, but only Houston helped pin him down until backup officers arrived. Houston also noticed money exposed in the suspect’s underwear after the fight. The suspect, a prolific bank robber, is awaiting trial for this case, which Beutel said would be his third strike.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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