What were you reading on Noozhawk this week?

1. Two Men, Teen Arrested in Isla Vista Sexual Assault

Two men and a juvenile were arrested on felony rape charges Jan. 18 after an alleged sexual assault of a UC Santa Barbara student in Isla Vista.

Charles Dunbar

Casey Avila

According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, an 18-year-old woman flagged down a UCSB police officer about 1:30 a.m. and reported that three men had attacked her 20 minutes earlier.

At the same time, authorities were checking out a report of a theft from an Isla Vista convenience store. Near Sabado Tarde Road and Camino Pescadero, Hoover said, officers stopped three guys who matched the description in the shoplifting and arrested one — a 15-year-old from Oxnard — who was identified as the alleged thief.

Meanwhile, another UCSB police officer was flagged down by an individual who reported that he had “witnessed a woman being sexually assaulted in the 6500 block of Sabado Tarde,” Hoover said.

“The citizen identified the same suspects who were involved in the petty theft case as being involved with the sexual assault,” she said.

Casey Avila, 22, and Charles Dunbar, 18, both of Santa Barbara, were arrested on suspicion of “rape in concert,” which is charged when two or more people act together to commit rape and/or other sexual assaults, Hoover said.

The teenager was arrested on the same charges, she said, but his identity is being withheld because he’s a juvenile.

Hoover said the woman was taken to the hospital, where she was treated and released several hours later.

2. CHP Releases Name of Driver Killed in Rollover Wreck Near Santa Maria

A 24-year-old Santa Maria man was identified as the pickup truck driver killed in a Jan. 18 single-vehicle, rollover crash east of Santa Maria.

According to the California Highway Patrol, William D. Rogers was driving a Chevy pickup eastbound on Clark Avenue at a high rate of speed when he blew through a stop sign at Dominion Road, ran up an embankment and went airborne over a fence. The truck landed on its nose before flipping over on its roof, the CHP said.

Rogers was declared dead at the scene of the 7 a.m. wreck, Santa Barbara County fire Engineer Russ Sechler said. Toxicology tests are pending.

3. Driver Killed in Rollover on Highway 101 Near Seacliff

A Ventura County woman died Jan. 21 when her SUV ran off northbound Highway 101 east of Seacliff and rolled several times before ending up on its roof in a ditch.

The 9:25 a.m. crash stalled the tail end of the morning commute to Santa Barbara as rescue crews responded to the scene near San Miguelito Road at Solimar Beach.

The Ventura County Star identified the woman as Cindy Lansing, 62, of Oxnard, and said she died of blunt-force trauma.

Authorities say the woman apparently lost control of her SUV after it struck the center divider for unknown reasons. CHP Officer Steve Reid said the vehicle veered back across all three lanes, ran off the road and overturned at least twice.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the freeway’s congestion at the time, there were no other vehicles involved.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

At less than 40 percent full, Lake Cachuma is rapidly revealing its dry side. (Urban Hikers photo)

At less than 40 percent full, Lake Cachuma is rapidly revealing its dry side. (Urban Hikers photo)

4. Santa Barbara County Declares Drought Emergency, Forms Task Force

January may well come and go without a drop of rain in Santa Barbara County. Four days after Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for California, Santa Barbara County followed with an emergency declaration of its own.

New County CEO Mona Miyasato has convened a task force to monitor water supply levels and implement conservation measures. The panel, which first met Jan. 22, will commence a public education campaign in an effort to reduce use.

After a three-year dry spell, water levels at the state’s reservoirs, rivers and groundwater basins are well below average. All four of the county’s reservoirs are low, with Gibraltar Reservoir actually considered unusable because of expensive filtering costs.

In spite of the drought, many water districts insist they’re flush with water thanks to contingency planning before the crisis. Time will tell whether that confidence evaporates.

5. Santa Barbara Man Arrested on Heroin Charges

After a two-month investigation by Santa Barbara police, a Westside resident was arrested for allegedly dealing heroin out of his Gillespie Street home.  

James Robert Begg says he's a very giving person. (Santa Barbara Police Department photo)

James Robert Begg says he’s a very giving person. (Santa Barbara Police Department photo)

James Robert Begg, 50, first fell under suspicion in November, Sgt. Riley Harwood told our Tom Bolton. A search warrant was obtained for his house in the 1900 block of Gillespie and he was taken into custody Jan. 15 as he pedaled away on his bicycle.

Back home, Harwood said, a search turned up 6.7 grams of heroin valued at $400, almost $500 in cash, and a scale, packaging material and syringes.

Harwood said Begg “denied selling heroin, but stated that he gives it away to people to help those suffering from withdrawal sickness.”

It remains to be seen how that defense will work out for him. In the meantime, he was booked into County Jail on suspicion of possession of heroin for sale, sale of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bail was set at $30,000.

                                                                         •        •

Dumbasses come in all shapes and sizes. This one — with the Whatever prank website — donned a ski mask and walked into several Santa Barbara banks to try to open an account. Bank employees and security officers were having none of it, however. You’ll probably recognize many of them — including Noozhawk banker David Perez of Montecito Bank & Trust and my friend, Matt Limon of Union Bank.

Is something that could get you shot really worth the laughs? What do you think?

HT to my son, Will, for the link. 

(whatever video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

A dark-haired man in glasses with a beard and a mustache smiles at the camera

William M. Macfadyen, Noozhawk Publisher

Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com, and follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen. The opinions expressed are his own.