Vehicle recovered after Santa Paula chase

Francisco Paz

A pursuit on the 126 freeway ended with the arrest of a suspect in possession of a stolen vehicle.

Santa Paula Police say that Francisco Paz, 36, allegedly fled from the police attempting a traffic stop on Peck Road in Santa Paula following identification of a stolen vehicle Paz was allegedly driving. Earlier in the evening of Tuesday, May 7, Santa Paula Police say that the vehicle’s LoJack anti-theft device activated the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System, which the department uses to locate stolen vehicles.

After a brief surveillance of the area around Beckwith Street and Telegraph Road, police say that a pursuit occurred during which Paz allegedly ran a stop light before entering on to the 126 Freeway, where a pursuit began. Shortly thereafter, the pursuit ended at the 10th Street onramp and a canine unit was deployed, ending the chase.

Paz was placed under arrest and treated at the Santa Paula Hospital Emergency Room before being cleared and charged with unlawful driving of a stolen vehicle, resisting an officer, having an outstanding misdemeanor warrant and for possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

Santa Paula teacher charged with child annoyance, luring student

Armando Rico

A Santa Paula High School teacher has been charged with felony luring and misdemeanor child annoyance following incidents that occurred during the 2018-2019 school year.

Prosecutors allege that Armando Rico, 31, exchanged photos and a video with a 17-year-old student, alleging that Rico intended to send “harmful, obscene” media to the student.

Rico was arrested on Tuesday, May 7, at his home in Santa Paula. A search warrant was served on his residence, vehicle and office at Santa Paula High School.

Rico pleaded not guilty to the charges and his bail was set at $10,000, with his next court date set for Monday, May 20. If convicted, Rico faces a maximum of two-and-a-half years in state prison.

Reefer madness defense in Thousand Oaks murder

Bryn Spejcher

A trial has been ordered in the stabbing death of 26-year-old Chad O’Melia, allegedly murdered on May 28 by Bryn Spejcher, 28, who told investigators that hallucinations caused by smoking from a bong led to the violence.

On May 28, 2018, O’Melia was discovered dead at his condo on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, which he shared with two roommates. Testimony delivered on Tuesday, May 6, at a pre-trial hearing detailed the night in question with both the Ventura County coroner and officers who responded to the emergency call taking the stand.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Steven Jenkins testified that Spejcher told police that she had smoked twice from a bong provided by O’Melia and had a bad reaction to the drugs, with bouts of nausea and blurry vision. Jenkins said that Spejcher told police that she felt as if she were dying and that at some point she began stabbing O’Melia as well as her dog. Jenkins said that Spejcher told police she heard voices that encouraged her to act in violence against O’Melia and then herself.

Assistant Chief Medical Examiner Othon Mena testified that O’Melia had 108 stab wounds from various knives from his knee to his head.

Spejcher, free on $510,000 bond, was ordered to stand trial by Ventura County Superior Court Judge Ferdinand Inumerable following the trial and is due back in court on Monday, June 10.