Monday, July 28, 2008

Drunk driving and public fights top police blotter


Drunk drivers, illegal drivers and public confrontations kept Santa Barbara police officers busy in recent days.

July 24, 10:54 p.m. — A witness driving in the lane next to a Jeep Cherokee in the 3300 block of State Street noticed the driver of the Jeep had nodded off behind the wheel. The witness watched as the Jeep rolled through an intersection despite a red light, hit a tree head-on, and flipped onto its side. The driver, later identified as a 30-year-old Lompoc man, managed to climb out of the vehicle with minor injuries.
Police caught up to the driver at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and immediately noticed an odor of alcohol. The suspect denied drinking anything other than a beer earlier that day. Authorities were unable to perform sobriety tests as the man was strapped to a backboard, but the suspect registered a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 during two breathalyzer tests — well above the legal limit of 0.08.
Police discovered the man had been convicted the day prior for driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of 0.20. Officers booked the suspect in lieu of $10,000 bail for his second DUI violation and driving without a license or insurance.

July 25, 8:13 p.m. — Officers patrolling along the 500 block of W. Mission Street spotted the driver of a Chrysler New Yorker make a right turn without signaling and pulled the vehicle over. While talking to the suspect, a 26-year-old Goleta man, police immediately noticed a strong odor of alcohol and marijuana emanating from the car.
Officers noted the man had glassy, watery eyes and was unsteady on his feet. The suspect registered 0.14 and 0.12 blood-alcohol content during two consecutive breathalyzer tests, above the legal limit of 0.08. Authorities also found two grams of cocaine under the driver’s seat and marijuana in the center console.
Noting the suspect has a history of drug use, officers booked the man in lieu of $10,000 bail for possession of cocaine and marijuana, driving under the influence and driving without insurance.

July 26, 8:30 p.m. — Police stopped a 24-year-old man for a driving violation at 200 E. Haley St. The suspect told authorities that he did not have identification and provided a false name — even signing a citation with the name. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, officers found documents indicating the name was false.
After being arrested for driving without a license, the man ultimately gave police his true name and said he was a deported felon who had illegally crossed the border back into the United States two weeks ago.
Authorities booked him into jail for falsely identifying himself to a police officer and driving without a license. In addition to the prerequisite $2,500 bail, the 24-year-old is facing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.

July 27, 6:50 a.m. — A couple who have been dating on and off for the past five years got into a heated argument over a parking spot. The victim had parked in a public space that the suspect, a 46-year-old man, normally uses. The suspect became angry and physically assaulted the victim, attempting to throw her over the railing on Stearns Wharf. He reportedly stopped after realizing there were witnesses. Police arrested the man for battery, booking him on $10,000 bail.

July 27, 6:35 p.m. — A woman walking her dogs at the Santa Barbara High School baseball field was confronted by a suspect, who demanded she take the dogs out of the park. The woman began arguing with the 43-year-old Santa Barbara man, who subsequently kicked one of her dogs and slapped her in the face. Two witnesses confirmed the incident to police, who booked the suspect for battery.

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