Roundup: Teen bicyclists struck by car at Camarillo center, more Ventura County news

·6 min read
A teen with minor injuries is transported from Promenade Drive in Camarillo after a car hit two teenage bicyclists early Friday afternoon. A second cyclist suffered serious injuries, officials said.
A teen with minor injuries is transported from Promenade Drive in Camarillo after a car hit two teenage bicyclists early Friday afternoon. A second cyclist suffered serious injuries, officials said.

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

Teen bicyclists hit by car

CAMARILLO — Two teenage bicyclists were struck by a car at the Camarillo Premium Outlets Friday afternoon, with one suffering serious injuries, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

The accident, reported shortly before 12:25 p.m., blocked an entrance to the mall in the 500 block of East Ventura Boulevard, located south of Highway 101 in Camarillo.

The teens, both male, were riding on Promenade Drive, which separates two large parking lots at the shopping center, when they were hit by a Chevrolet Bolt, authorities said.

One teen was pinned under the small electric hatchback. He was transported to a hospital with serious injuries, said Cmdr. Eric Tennessen.

Firefighters' radio traffic from the scene indicated the teen was found unresponsive.

The second teen was transported to a hospital with minor injuries, Tennessen said.

Both riders were 14-year-old Camarillo residents, authorities said Saturday.

The driver, a 68-year-old Newbury Park woman, stayed at the scene and cooperated with investigators, officials said.

Two teenage cyclists were hit by a car on Promenade Drive in the Camarillo Premium Outlets early Friday afternoon, with one suffering serious injuries, authorities said.
Two teenage cyclists were hit by a car on Promenade Drive in the Camarillo Premium Outlets early Friday afternoon, with one suffering serious injuries, authorities said.

The incident closed Promenade Drive for a time as Ventura County Fire engines, sheriff's vehicles and ambulance crews staged behind yellow police tape. One bicycle could be seen lying on its side in the roadway and a second was leaning against bushes in the center median.

One bystander said she saw emergency crews performing CPR on the teen pulled from under the car before he was transported by ambulance.

On Saturday, sheriff's officials said the teens had been riding westbound across Promenade when they were struck. No update was available on the condition of the seriously injured rider, who remained hospitalized, officials said. The incident remained under investigation.

Anyone who saw the collision is asked to contact the sheriff's traffic investigator, Deputy Anthony Zacarias, at 805-388-5126.

Blaze knocked down in Ventura

VENTURA — Fire crews responded to a smoky blaze Thursday afternoon in a commercial strip of Ventura Avenue in west Ventura.

Multiple callers reported heavy smoke coming from a single-story commercial building in the 200 block of North Ventura Avenue around 4:15 p.m., Ventura City Fire Department officials said.

City of Ventura firefighters extinguished a commercial garage fire Thursday afternoon.
City of Ventura firefighters extinguished a commercial garage fire Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters arrived within minutes and found a large amount of smoke coming from a large roof vent and a garage door.

After making sure no one was inside the building, crews began an aggressive attack to contain the fire to its area of origin in an automotive painting stall.

The blaze was knocked down within 16 minutes, officials said.

The fire was kept to the stall and no further damage was reported.

No injuries were reported. The cause remains under investigation.

Life sentence in Ojai Valley kidnapping case

VENTURA COUNTY — An Oxnard man has been sentenced to 75 years to life in prison in a 2021 case that involved forcing a woman into the trunk of his car in the Ojai Valley. The sentence included an additional six years for kidnapping.

James Lewis Apodaca, 55, was sentenced by Ventura County Superior Court Judge Ryan Wright on Friday for kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, robbery, assault on a peace officer and possession of methamphetamine, according to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.

James Apodaca
James Apodaca

Apodaca had met a 20-year-old woman in the parking lot of a liquor store in Mira Monte on Aug. 28, 2021. He pushed her into the trunk of his car after luring her with the promise of marijuana, authorities said. As he drove through Oak View, the victim was able to pop open the trunk and scream for help. The woman was ultimately rescued uninjured.

After Apodaca was stopped by a Ventura County Sheriff's deputy, he swung a metal pole at the deputy. He was subdued by a stun gun prior to being taken into custody.

In June, a jury found Apodaca guilty of the charges and special enhancements. He had previously admitted convictions for prior serious and violent felony offenses and was sentenced pursuant to California’s three strikes law, prosecutors said.

Catalytic converter thefts prompt multiple arrests

VENTURA COUNTY — A half-dozen out-of-county residents have been arrested in recent days in connection with catalytic converter thefts, police agencies reported.

At around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday in Thousand Oaks, a caller reported hearing a power tool grinding and seeing two people in a white truck steal a catalytic converter in the 1600 block of Rancho Conejo Boulevard in Newbury Park, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. The agency is contracted to provide police services in Thousand Oaks.

Deputies located the truck and performed a high-risk traffic stop, taking two men into custody without incident. The suspects, age 33 and 43, were from Riverside and Los Angeles counties.

A vehicle search turned up several license plates, power saws and reciprocating saw blades, a car jack, bolt cutters and two converters recently cut from Toyota vehicles as well as a loaded gun magazine, officials said. The suspects also had narcotics and a "large amount" of cash that was confiscated as evidence.

The driver was on post-release supervision for a prior grand theft conviction in LA County. Investigators believe the crew has previously stolen the converters in Thousand Oaks.

Simi Valley police arrested four Los Angeles residents suspected of stealing a catalytic converter early Thursday.
Simi Valley police arrested four Los Angeles residents suspected of stealing a catalytic converter early Thursday.

In Simi Valley early Thursday, a resident reported hearing a converter being cut off around 2:30 a.m. near Township Avenue and Lemon Drive, according to the Simi Valley Police Department.

Officers found a car nearby on Penney Drive with four Los Angeles residents inside, age 19 to 43.

Inside the car's trunk police found a cut-off converter, two floor jacks, a reciprocating saw with spare blades and other tools, the department reported. The vehicle the converter was stolen from was located in the 3500 block of Township Avenue.

The four suspects were arrested on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy.

Separately, suspected catalytic converter thieves in Santa Barbara led authorities on a pursuit down Highway 101 early Sunday that ended outside Ventura after suspects allegedly threw objects out the window to thwart pursuing officers.

Deputies there had responded to reports of possible converter thefts in progress shortly before 4 a.m., according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office. A deputy spotted a matching vehicle — one suspected in prior converter thefts — and attempted a traffic stop along the southbound entrance to the 101 at Turnpike Road.

The driver failed to yield, launching a pursuit on the southbound freeway with California Highway Patrol officers assisting.

During the pursuit, the suspects allegedly threw a car jack out of the window in Montecito. Deputies were able to maneuver around the jack.

As the chase continued into Mussel Shoals in Ventura County, the occupants reportedly threw a catalytic converter out the window, damaging a patrol car so badly the deputy had to drop out of the pursuit, authorities said.

CHP officers followed the car into Ventura where the driver eventually yielded outside city limits on Orchard Drive, off Ventura Avenue. Two Los Angeles County men in their 40s were arrested and a juvenile taken into custody was released to a guardian, the agency reported.

Theft crews steal the catalytic converters because they contain precious metals that can be sold for cash at recycling operations, authorities say.

Items may be updated if more information becomes available.

Cytlalli Salgado is a breaking news reporter for the Ventura County Star. She can be reached by calling 805-437-0257 or emailing cytlalli.salgado@vcstar.com.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Teen cyclists hit by car at Camarillo outlet mall, more news