Hazmat team shuts down Laurel Street, accused child rapist back in court, Fireball grounded, armed robbery on River street, men brandish gun at Wharf to Wharf, SCPD’s body camera pilot program, 5 tons of bum trash, brawl at the harbor, knife fight on the west side, motorized madness along the levee, the face of county probation, weekly bum fight!, The Wolves at the Boardwalk, and more!
Hazmat Team Shuts Down Laurel Street
Thursday morning around 7:30AM, a hazmat team responded to a chemical spill at 206 Laurel Street. According to Santa Cruz Fire Department Battalion Chief Daniel Kline, someone noticed a yellow liquid near a dumpster which was producing a vapor. The fire department then called in a hazmat team. Businesses and residents in the area were advised to shelter in place and keep their doors and windows closed. The liquid turned out to be about a gallon of hydrochloric acid, which a hazmat team was able to neutralize using sodium bicarbonate. Nobody was evacuated and the property owner assisted with the cleanup. The scene was cleared around noon. The police and fire departments are investigating the source of the acid. Are dirty infected needles considered hazmat? I’m truly curious. I know the county won’t allow their workers to touch them when they come back returned in those big red, flowery, unicorn adorned dumpsters that the county wants local junkies to use to dump their dirty needles. If the county considers them hazmat, shouldn’t this be the county response each time a dirty needle is found in public? Someone ask Ryan Coonerty and get back to me in the comments.
Accused Child Rapist Back in Court This Week
Accused child rapist and brain surgeon James Kohut was back in court in front of Judge John Salazar at a hearing Thursday morning in Santa Cruz County Superior Court. During Thursday’s hearing, defense attorney Jay Rorty said there were issues with the evidence. Assistant District Attorney Steve Moore said there should be no problems with the evidence. Seated nearby was nurse, girlfriend and accused conspirator Rashel Brandon. According to court documents, Kohut faces 11 felonies and Brandon faces eight felonies linked with raping children and recording some of the acts in Santa Cruz County. Judge Salazar scheduled the next procedural hearing for 8:15AM on September 6th. Judge Salazar also allowed media requests to photograph and record the hearing despite objections by both defense attorneys. Despite Judge Salazar setting bail at $6.4 million, Kohut remains in county jail.
Beach Boardwalk Temporarily Shuts Down Fireball After Deadly Ohio Accident
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is taking extra safety measures after a deadly ride malfunction at the Ohio State Fair killed one person and left seven others injured. On Wednesday night, a Boardwalk spokesperson confirmed that the ride known as the “Fireball” was shut down as a precaution. State law requires all rides at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk be inspected daily. The Fireball was expected to reopen pending a more thorough inspection. The same ride was shut down at the California State Fair in Sacramento and the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa. Anyone who has ridden the Fireball can tell you what a terrifying ride it is. It’s the scariest ride at the Boardwalk by far. At it’s peak, you are inverted vertically in your seat pulling some serious G’s along the way. It’s not for the faint of heart. Now it’s even scarier!
Armed Robbery on River Street
Tuesday night around 9:30PM, I heard reports of an armed robbery on the 400 block of River Street. The victim described 2 suspects fleeing in a green Ford SUV heading southbound on Highway 1, one of them wearing a red hat with a W on it. A short time after that, a Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Deputy spotted a green Ford Explorer possibly matching the suspect’s vehicle. With the assistance of SCPD, Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Deputies conducted a high-risk traffic stop near Highway 1 and Riverside Avenue. Officers recovered a Beretta .22 caliber pistol underneath the passenger seat. The suspect driver, a 24 year old male from Watsonville, was identified as the man who robbed the victim. He was charged with armed robbery, carrying a loaded firearm and conspiracy to commit a crime. SCPD also arrested a 19 year old passenger from Watsonville for robbery and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Gang Members Arrested For Brandishing Gun at Wharf to Wharf Race
Last Sunday morning during the Wharf To Wharf race, a community member flagged down an SCPD officer after they witnessed a male brandishing a gun near the Beach Flats area. SCPD quickly located the suspected vehicle after getting a good description from the victim. SCPD conducted a high-risk car stop on Chestnut Street, where 3 suspects affiliated with the Norteno street gang were removed from the vehicle. Upon searching the vehicle, Officers found a Ruger P90 .45 caliber pistol tucked between the driver’s seat and center console, along with a spent .45 caliber casing and an open container of beer. SCPD identified the driver of the truck as a 28 year old male from Watsonville. The other two occupants were a 26 year old male from Santa Cruz, and a 25 year old male from Capitola. All three were arrested for conspiracy to commit a crime, participating in a criminal street gang, and carrying a concealed weapon. The driver also faces DUI charges. All three have known gang affiliations according to SCPD.
SCPD Begins Body Camera Pilot Program
SCPD began a new body camera pilot program this past week. A group of 11 patrol officers volunteered to wear the body worn cameras during a month long trial period. The test group of officers will participate in a mandatory training session before patrol use. The field testing phase will allow officers to assess the effectiveness of the body camera equipment, and will be tested on officers who work in both urban and suburban patrol units, including specialized units like Traffic Enforcement and Bike Patrol. The test period is also an opportunity to examine the department’s proposed policy on body worn cameras. Video footage generated during the test period is considered the same as police dashboard camera video. It is subject to the provisions of the Evidence Codes and the Public Records Acts and cannot be released if it is evidentiary. Full implementation and deployment will be contingent on the assessment of the vendor’s equipment culminating the field-testing stage. The approximate cost to outfit the entire department with body-worn cameras is $390,000.
Five Tons of Bum Trash Hauled Out of Pogonip
Last week, SCPD partnered with the Park Rangers, Roaring Camp Railroad, and Labor Ready workers to remove over five tons of trash and debris from Pogonip. Roaring Camp railroad provided six railroad cars necessary to haul the trash away. SCPD Park Unit Officers and SC Park Rangers agreed the cleanup was necessary because of the potential threat of biohazards in the area and other types of hazardous waste. Pogonip Park is an ongoing public safety concern. This area is a hideout for crimes that include illegal camping, drug use, theft and dumping. Santa Cruz Park Rangers and the SCPD will continue to identify and safely restore areas used for illegal camping and filled with environmental hazards. The health hazards expand into our wildlife habitats and water supply. Human waste and garbage is a significant source of pollution to the environment.
Let’s be real here. Pogonip has been a human sewer for YEARS and the city and county look the other way. It’s pathetic and sad what the city and the MAH allow to happen to Evergreen Cemetery. The city has “closed” the Pogonip to the public (for the purpose of recreation) while basically fostering the local homeless campground and bike chop shop it’s allowed to become. This isn’t the first time Roaring Camp had to use their railroad cars to haul TONS of mierda out of this small urban jewel of a park. Just 2 years ago, they pulled out 10 TONS OF TRASH IN ONE DAY FROM THE SAME AREA.
Brawl at the Harbor
Last Thursday night around 10:30PM, I got reports about a brawl with 10 males and 2 females brawling behind the main harbor patrol office, at the entrance off 5th near the dumpsters. Pepper spray was used by harbor patrol to detain at least one person before the cavalry showed up. 4-5 SCPD units were sent to deal with it. More people were stopped and questioned as more SCPD arrived on scene.
Knife Fight on Delaware and Dufour
Friday night around 8:30PM, reports came in that a couple of males in their twenties were fighting, at least one with a long knife or machete, near Dufour and Delaware. The suspects reportedly left in different vehicles, and SCPD managed to stop at least one of the vehicles which contained a victim and 2 others who were involved.
Motorized Madness Along the Levee
Sunday afternoon around 5PM, I heard reports of a male on a motorized bicycle who was recklessly driving it along the east levee near Blaine terrorizing other people. He was described as a young male “with a hypodermic needle sticking out of his headband”. I guess that’s easier to spot than a piercing or a tattoo.
The Face of County Probation
Thursday afternoon, a Deputy from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office was conducting extra patrols in the 3000 block of Soquel Drive due to a recent burglary in the area. While in the area, the Deputy came across a known man on probation from the county. After a search of the man, he was found to be in possession of 19 grams of heroin, 13 grams of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, scales, and cash. The man was placed under arrest for drug sales and booked into County Jail. How long until he’s back out on PROBATION?
Weekly Bum Fight!
This week’s bum fight comes courtesy of U Save Liquors on Almar, Saturday around 9PM. Almar and Mission. What started as an argument in front of the liquor store got physical when one particularly drunk and belligerent guy started throwing punches, then left on foot towards Mission. SCPD caught up with him running in and out of traffic in front of Rotten Robbie’s.
Free Friday Concert at the Boardwalk
This week features Los Lobos! More than three decades have passed since Grammy-award winning Los Lobos released their debut album and a worldwide smash single,”La Bamba”. Since then they’ve consistently evolved artistically while never losing sight of their humble roots. Perez, the band’s drummer, once called their powerhouse mix of rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues and traditional Spanish and Mexican music “the soundtrack of the barrio.” Free shows at 6:30 and 8:30PM.
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