Mountain lion sighting in Simi Valley, more Ventura County news

2022-07-30 04:41:51 By : Mr. Zhiguang Chen

Here's a roundup of recent incidents and announcements from Ventura County agencies:

SIMI VALLEY — A mountain lion seen near a cemetery in Simi Valley Friday afternoon was reportedly chased up a tree by a pack of coyotes, authorities said.

The Simi Valley Police Department sent a public alert after the lion was spotted around 2:15 p.m. near Mount Sinai Simi Valley. The cemetery on Mount Sinai Drive is located amid open space at the city's east end, near the Hummingbird Nest Ranch on the north side of Highway 118.

According to officers at the scene, it appeared the mountain lion had killed a coyote before the coyote pack chased it into a tree, said Sgt. Frank Panza. The lion remained in the tree as of about 5:30 p.m., he said, and was expected to stay in the tree until nightfall.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel were notified but declined to come to the scene, according to police, as the incident involved natural behavior for the animals.

A Fish and Wildlife representative reached Friday evening wasn't immediately able to connect with the wildlife officer who had been notified about the incident.

In a text, Tim Daly, the wildlife agency's spokesman for the region, said officials respond when there is a threat to property or people.

"We rely on local police to notify us if our assistance is needed," Daly wrote.

SIMI VALLEY — Authorities seized more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana from an industrial building in Simi Valley Thursday after detectives smelled the plants while investigating a stolen vehicle report.

Detectives with the Simi Valley Police Department and Ventura County Sheriff's auto theft task force had been looking into a possible stolen vehicle at Exotic Motorsports Collision Center at 4610 E. Los Angeles Ave., Simi police reported, when they caught wind of a strong marijuana smell coming from a building on the property.

The auto shop is on a large industrial site with two buildings, said Sgt. Vince Allegra.

Detectives got a search warrant and found the illegal grow set up on two floors in one of the buildings, according to police.

A police photo shows a cavernous space lit by an array of overhead horticulture lights with plants covering the floor and a device displaying temperature and humidity data. A second photo shows rows of cut plants hanging upside down on rows of rolling metal stands.

Authorities valued the marijuana at more than $1 million.

No arrests were made, Allegra said, and police are still investigating to determine who is responsible for the marijuana operation.

MOORPARK — An accident involving an overturned big rig closed an onramp at Highway 23 and New Los Angeles Avenue in Moorpark for hours on Friday.

The incident was reported shortly before 9:30 a.m. when a semitrailer carrying boxes of bananas was found on its side by Ventura County firefighters who were in the area, according to the California Highway Patrol. The driver was initially said to be trapped, but he ultimately emerged on his own without injury, CHP reports showed.

More local news:Family seeks public's help after fatal fight during Oxnard soccer game

The semi had apparently been on the cloverleaf ramp, located on the east side of the 23 near White Sage Road, and tipped over into adjacent traffic lanes, a CHP official from the agency's Moorpark office said. Northbound Highway 23 turns into eastbound Highway 118 at the juncture with Los Angeles Avenue.

The incident closed the ramp to eastbound Highway 118 into the late afternoon for cleanup, officials said.

Separately, an accident Friday afternoon involving a semi and a passenger vehicle slowed motorists on eastbound Highway 126 through Santa Paula. The collision was reported shortly before 2 p.m. east of Hallock Drive.

Several patients were transported to area hospitals, although none with life-threatening injuries, according to CHP and county fire reports. Train traffic was temporarily halted through the area as the accident was close to railroad tracks. The CHP's Ventura-area office is investigating.

VENTURA COUNTY — An Oxnard man previously found guilty of violent rapes was sentenced Thursday to 60 years to life in prison by Ventura County Superior Court Judge Anthony Sabo.

In June, jurors found Rodolfo Fernandez Franco, 41, guilty of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, two counts of sodomy by use of force and assault with the intent to commit rape, according to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office. Jurors also found true a special enhancement for multiple victims.

The case involved three separate sexual assault cases with different victims, years apart, but connected through DNA evidence. The first two occurred in 2003, in Oxnard and Ventura. The most recent took place in December 2020 in Oxnard. Authorities have also listed his last names as Franco Fernandez.

DNA found on a face mask left behind at the 2020 assault was used to link Franco to one of the 2003 crimes. Investigators connected the third assault, prosecutors said.

Thursday's sentence also added four years to the total for multiple sexual assaults.

Items may be updated if new information becomes available.