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KGET: Local News

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    UPDATE:

    BAKERSFIELD, Calif.– A spokesperson for the Kern County Sheriff’s Department has stated there will be maximum enforcement in the Oildale area today and tonight.

    The statement comes after some residents became concerned after an online hoax on Facebook created some fear, getting the department’s attention.

    A post claiming a “Purge” will happen in Oildale today is imitating the events of a recent horror film with the same name, where there is 12 hours of unmonitored crime.

    And while KCSO said the post is a fake, they are taking the matter seriously since it is causing fear among many residents. 


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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif.– This Labor Day help conserve water and enjoy your holiday weekend with these tips from PG&E.

    Water Safety Tips

    • With the drought causing lower water levels, unseen hazards will be closer to the surface. Never dive or jump into unfamiliar waters.

    • Stay off of flume walkways and never get in a flume or canal.  Canals and flumes have steep, slippery sides and icy cold water. Once in a canal or flume, it can be very difficult to get out. Conditions change quickly in open water and even the best swimmers can misjudge the water and their skills when boating or swimming. Wearing a life jacket can increase survival time. Know your skill and don’t swim or boat alone.

    • Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. They need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather. Never leave children unattended.

    To learn more about other electric, gas and water safety tips, visitwww.pge.com/hydrosafety.


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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif.– The California Highway Patrol will be out in full force this holiday weekend cracking down on drunk drivers.

    During last year’s Labor Day weekend, 49 people were killed in the state, which is a 40 percent increase from 2012.

    The public is asked to call 911 and report drivers suspected of being under the influence.


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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - KGET TV 17 has joined in on the Ice Bucket Challenge today as the station’s general manager Derek Jeffery decided to cool off for a good cause.

    Jeffery joins countless Americans who have accepted the challenge and donated to ALS, also known as Lou Gherig's disease.

    The ALS association is reporting that it has received $94.3 million in donations over the past month.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A Bakersfield corrections officer was shot multiple times and likely knew the person who killed him.
    Those are just some of the revelations made by detectives through court documents as they investigate the death of 60-year-old Carl Aaron Crawford at his home in Bakersfield.

    Carl Crawford was discovered by his girlfriend last Friday morning, inside his home in the 2600 block of Hempstead Lane.
    Friends say he worked as a correctional officer at North Kern State Prison in Delano.

    Investigators believe Crawford may have died hours earlier because there were a large number of ants found on and around his body.  Neighbors told detectives they heard--what they believed were gunshots the night before--but never reported it.

    Detectives say an outside lamp was on above the front door, and the believe the suspect came to the door, and may have known Crawford.

    That's because the front door has large oval windows through which you can easily peer outside and Crawford's body was found just inside the entryway.

    Detectives also searched Crawford's vehicles.  And they collected a shotgun a rifle and two safes.  Investigators wanted to collect all of Crawford's firearms and compare them against the bullets collected at the scene.

    Late Friday Bakersfield police announced a $5000 'Secret Witness' reward in this case.

    Anyone with information on the death of Carl Crawford is asked to call the BPD at 327-7111.

    To remain anonymous, call the Secret Witness hotline. That number is 661-322-4040.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - There are new questions surfacing about who can bring a firearm onto campus and who cannot. On Thursday, Bakersfield Police arrested Kent Williams, the vice principal of Tevis Junior High, for having a gun in his backpack in his office. They then released Williams, saying he had a concealed carry weapons permit and didn't break the law.

    Bakersfield Police say the District Attorney's office is reviewing this to make sure they didn't miss anything. But, this may not have been the first time Williams carried his gun to school.

    Williams remains on paid administrative leave in the Panama Buena Vista Union School District. Assistant Superintendent Gerrie Kincaid says she was tipped off by another employee.

    "They just shared with me that this employee may have a gun because he had said something to that effect to another employee," said Kincaid. When asked if it was that day, Kincaid answered, "Previously."

    While it sounds like Williams had carried the weapon with him to school before, Kincaid would not confirm that. Police say they found the loaded gun in his backpack in his office, where the district says he sometimes worked with students.

    Police say the kids could have had access to it.

    "I think that is reasonable to think that if there was a student in the office for some reason that could happen," said Sgt. Joe Grubbs, Bakersfield Police Department.

    Sgt. Grubbs says while, at first, they believed Williams violated the state's Safe School Zone law, they found his concealed carry permit made him exempt and he was released.

    "Mr. Williams' permit had no restrictions whatsoever. It was an open CCW permit," said Sgt. Grubbs.

    Williams still violated the district's policy that states no firearms are allowed "without written permission of school authorities."

    "We do not survey staff as to whether they have a permit. And, we expect that they are not armed at school," said Kincaid.

    Kincaid says there is no defined discipline for employees who break this rule, like there are for students for bringing a firearm to campus.

    "That's a violation that could result in suspension or expulsion from school," said Kincaid.

    But, Sgt. Grubbs says it's not clear if a student 18 or older, would be in trouble with the law if that student had a CCW, or any adult with a valid permit who came onto campus.

    "If an 18-year-old adult had a CCW permit, I think he'd be able to come on campus," said Sgt. Grubbs.

    Sgt. Grubbs says it just depends on the case and the conditions of the permit.

    Meantime, supporters of Mr. Williams have started an encouragement Facebook page for the vice principal in his absence.

    "This employee meant no ill will. He meant no harm to anybody and we don't believe he meant harm. But, it's a serious matter and we are going to investigate and deal with it further," said Kincaid.

    The school district says Kent Williams has been in good standing with them since he was employed in the late 1990's. They will investigate the case and see what disciplinary action they will take once the D.A.'s office wraps up its investigation.


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    BAKERSFIELD,CA- A man suspected of drunk driving was arrested Saturday morning, after he crashed into another vehicle on Rosedale Highway.

    According to Bakersfield Police, 29-year-old Dontrell Collins of Bakersfield was driving a green Ford Crown Victoria westbound on Rosedale Highway.

    Residents who live on Rosedale Highway and Verdugo Lane say as soon as they stepped outside to see what happened, they smelled the smoke from the accident and witnessed rescuers trying to get several victims out of a burning car.

    "I was laying in bed and all I heard was a boom and then the dogs started barking then afterwards I laid there longer and heard another boom," said Pamela Oxford.

    That's when Oxford went outside and saw flames. 

    Police say Collins was speeding and under the influence of alcohol when he rear ended a white sedan. Officers say the impact caused the white car to burst into flames, trapping all three people inside. The driver and passenger in the white car died at the scene.

    Good Samaritans were able to pull the third passenger from the wreckage.

    "She sustained some burns and was taken to a local hospital for treatment," said Sgt. Dennis Moore with the Bakersfield Police Department.

    Collins was booked for felony drunken driving resulting in injury or death and vehicular manslaughter. The 29-year-old's criminal history reveals several run- ins with the law, including disorderly conduct while being intoxicated in march and may of this year.

    The names of the victims haven't been released. Collins is being held at more than $335,000 bail. Anyone with information should call BPD at 327-711.

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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A Bakersfield man is dead after being hit by a train last night. 

    The incident happened just before 6:30 a.m.at State Road and Airport Drive. The coroner identified the man as 53-year-old Rodney Craig Lancaster.

    According to Lancaster's friends, he lived near the area and walked everywhere. 

    The Kern County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the incident.

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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The Bakersfield Police Department says the DUI checkpoint on Saturday ended with 7 arrests.

    The checkpoint was held in the 200 block of Union Avenue between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Aug. 30, for northbound and southbound directions.

    BPD says that in addition to the arrests, 41 drivers were found without valid driver licenses, with 16 of them found to have suspended licenses. Forty four vehicles were impounded.

    Ten vehicles held for driver license violations were released from custody before the checkpoint was concluded.

    A total of 1,830 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, with 1,218 being screened, according to police.

    BPD urges anyone who suspects an impaired driver to call 911. Anonymous tips can be sent to 274637 by sending BPDCRIMES along with a message.


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    TEHACHAPI, CA- Kern County Sheriff's homicide detectives were called out to an apartment complex in the 600 block of Cherry Lane early Monday morning.

    Detectives have not released any details other than they are investigating a homicide.

    We will have more information when it becomes available.

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    A Bakersfield man gives his first interview from captivity in North Korea where he is being held on crimes against the state.

    Matthew Todd Miller, 24, of Bakersfield, was taken into custody in mid April.

    North Korea's government news agency said he tore up his tourist visa, planning to seek asylum in that country. For what purpose, the state news agency did not say.

    Will Ripley, CNN Reporter : "So first of all can you tell me about the charges that you're facing here in NK?"
    Matthew Miller, Captive in North Korea : "I will not find out until I go to trial. But I will say that I prepared to violate the law of the DPRK before coming here. And I deliberately committed my crime. I have already admitted my guilt and apologized to the government of the DPRK and I have been asking for forgiveness."

    Miller declined to say why he was seeking asylum.

    He is a graduate of Bakersfield High School.  Two months ago, his parents posted a noted at the family home requesting privacy.

    Miller and another tourist, Jeffrey Fowle, were arrested separately and are accused of "perpetrating hostile acts" against North Korea.

    Both Miller and Fowle are asking the U.S. government to help secure their release. Miller said time is of the essence.

    "I've been requesting help for a long time and there's been no movement from my government. The American government is known for having a strong policy of protecting its citizens, yet for my case there is still no movement. I've also written a letter to my president with no reply," said Matthew Miller

    Congressman Kevin McCarthy said he was in contact with the Miller family, but declined to elaborate at their request.

    Miller said he is in good health and that he has been able to phone his family.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- A man was shot and killed in southeast Bakersfield Monday morning.

    Bakersfield police were called around 1:30 a.m. to the 700 block of V street near 8th street for a report of shots fired.

    When officers arrived they found a man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

    He was taken to the Kern Medical Center where he died. His identity has not been released.

    There is no suspect information at this time, but police said the shooter is a man and was seen living in a mid-sized sedan.

    The investigation is ongoing.

    If you have any information on this case, you are urged to call the BPD at 327-7111.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- An investigation is underway after a man's body was found lying in front of the downtown courthouse.

    Officers said they found the man near the Liberty bell early Saturday morning.

    Details remain limited, but police said there were obvious signs of trauma on the victim's body.

    The man's name has not been released.

    If you have any information, call police at 327-7111.


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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Kern chapter of American Red Cross' Amy Smith stopped by the 17 News studio Monday morning to share disaster preparedness tips in recognition of National Preparedness Month.

    Smith urged people to have a preparedness plan, including making lists of needed materials, such as medical prescriptions.

    Other suggestions included storing water, being aware of and having a plan to care for pets.

    To spread their message of preparedness, Red Cross is holding the Community Preparedness Fair at Central Park in Mill Creek on Saturday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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    PORTERVILLE, Calif. – A man is dead, and another seriously injured, after a head-on crash Monday morning on State Route 65.

    At approximately 4:45 a.m., California Highway Patrol officers say a 63 year old man, whose name has not yet been released, was driving a 1999 Hyundai Elantra southbound on State Route 65 in a northbound lane.

    Senon Herrera, 23, was driving a 2010 Ford Mustang northbound on State Route 65 when the cars collided.

    The driver of the Elantra was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Police say Herrera sustained major injuries and was taken to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia.

    Alcohol does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this collision, according to the CHP.


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    TEHACHAPI, CA - Deputies have arrested a man they say was involved in the murder of 2 people in Tehachapi. 

    Early Monday morning, officers with the Tehachapi Police Department responded to a peace disturbance call at a Cherry Lane apartment complex.  When they arrived they contacted 28-year-old Joaquin Balassa.  When officers entered the apartment in question they found two men suffering from obvious trauma.

    Paramedics pronounced both victims dead at the scene. The Tehachapi Police Department requested the assistance of the Kern County Sheriff's Office Robbery/Homicide Unit. Detectives from the Sheriff's Office arrived on scene and assumed the investigation.

    Through the course of the investigation detectives were able to develop probable cause to arrest Balassa for murder. Balassa was booked at the Kern county Jail. Autopsies are scheduled to determine the manner and cause of death of the victims.

    Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the Kern County Sheriff's Office at (661) 861-3110 or contact Secret Witness at (661) 322-4040.

    Anonymous "text" tips can be sent to TIP411 (847411). Just type the key word "KCSO" prior to the message.


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    (NBC SPORTS) - The Raiders are going with a rookie at quarterback to begin the regular season.

    Fox’s Jay Glazer reports the Raiders have switched starters in advance of Sunday’s opener at the Jets, with Derek Carr getting the nod over Matt Schaub.

    According to Glazer, players have been informed of the decision.

    The call to go with Carr comes after the second-round pick from Fresno State completed 11-of-13 passes for 143 yards and three TDs in the preseason finale vs. Seattle. Schaub sat out the game with elbow soreness.

    Schaub, whom the Raiders acquired from Houston in the off-season, was just 24-of-47 passing for 218 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in exhibition play. He was sacked three times.

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    On Monday, 12-year-old Ben Martinez rang a bell three times to signal his victory in the battle against cancer.

    "I am happy that I don't have to do it anymore, thank goodness," said Ben.

    Just one year ago Ben was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer which affects only two percent of children. Learning of Ben's diagnosis was one of the hardest things his mother says she ever had to hear.

    "Even though it was a challenge and a big journey and a battle for us, we have been so blessed," said Diane Martinez.

    Both mother and son shared their blessing of survival by alerting the community to the prevalence of childhood cancer, and how everyone can join the fight. About 35 kids are diagnosed with cancer each day, according to the American Childhood Cancer Organization.

    "It is definitely a celebratory party but I also want to bring awareness because people need to know. If we don't know about the problem we can't fix it," said Diane.

    Families and organizations from around town joined at Mondavi Park in northwest Bakersfield to learn how to support children and their families who are battling cancer, often without help.

    "They suffer alone a lot," said Briana Schechter, who knows personally the needs of families.

    Four years ago her two-year-old niece died of brain cancer. She started an organization, Second Star to the Right, soon after to support other families dealing with the disease.

    "We help financially with gas cards, grocery cards, groceries, dinners, anything that they need when they are home," said Schechter.

    Many families travel more than 40 miles to stay with their child at the hospital and don't have a place to stay. Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House can help.

    "There's three fully stocked bedrooms in the house, there's a kitchen that's fully stocked, there's a stove, microwave, refrigerator," said Sarah Keaveny of Ronald McDonald House.

    Paramedics also joined the celebration to help ease kids' minds about riding in the ambulance, which often frightens little ones.

    "They are usually pretty scared because of the needles and what we may be doing to them, so to comfort them we give them Siren the Rescue Hound," said Kim Tollison, Paramedic, about the furry friend they give to children riding in the ambulance.

    "While we take care of them we ask them to take care of him."

    Ben understands that fear but wants other kids to learn just how to fight cancer and, like him, to survive.

    "Keep fighting on, cause my mom said there's a light at the end of the tunnel," said Ben. "So you just keep on fighting until you make it to the end."


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    LAMONT, CA- A man is under arrest in connection to a shooting in Lamont Tuesday night.

    Sheriff's deputies were called just after 9 p.m. to the 7700 block of Harold Street for a report of a shooting.

    When deputies arrived, they found a 60-year-old man suffering from a non-life threatening gun shot wound to his leg. He was taken to Kern Medical Center for treatment.

    Deputies arrested and booked Federico Altamirano, 64, into the downtown jail for assault with a deadly weapon.

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    FRESNO, Calif. – A Shafter man remained in federal custody Wednesday after drug enforcement agents say they caught him with 38 kilograms of cocaine and confiscated $3.1 million dollars from a home west of Bakersfield.

    Jimmy Gil, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison if he's convicted of federal drug distribution charges.

    A magistrate ordered Gil released on a $270,000 bond during an Aug. 21 hearing. He remains in custody while prosecutors attempt to appeal the decision.

    "Gil is one of the largest cocaine traffickers and money handlers this Court has seen," Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar wrote in a motion, petitioning the court to keep Gil in custody.

    "This case is by no means a run of the mill drug prosecution for this district. The case involves one of the largest cocaine seizures in recent history in the southern portion of this district," she wrote.

    On Aug. 19, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents say they tracked a truck hauling a trailer with a secret compartment containing 38 kilograms of cocaine.

    The agents tracked the trailer as it crossed the Otay Mesa border from Mexico and traveled into Bakersfield.  

    Gil took control of the tractor trailer and drove it to a trucking company at Union Avenue and Buena Vista Road where authorities say Gil and a co-conspirator began unloading the bricks of cocaine into a truck.  They were taken into custody.

    The investigation led authorities to a home west of Bakersfield where agents uncovered $3.1 million in cash, shrink-wrapped into 281 packages that were hidden in a piece of construction equipment on the property.

    The money is suspected by agents to be from a 100 kilogram cocaine deal in Ohio, drug agents reported.

    If convicted, federal prosecutors say Gil faces a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years. If he is found guilty of leading the drug trafficking operation, he could face 20 years in prison, Assistant U.S. Attorney Escobar said.

    This is not the first time Gil has been found with a large sum of money.

    Gil was arrested in 2012, off Interstate 5 in Irvine, with a half-million dollars in cash, prosecutors reported. Gil forfeited that money as drug proceeds after a DEA canine alerted officers to the currency and did did not claim interest in the cash.

    Gil arrived in the United States from Mexico at age 7. He is a naturalized citizen.

    As part of their bid to keep Gil in custody prosecutors argue Gil has been unemployed since June and receives unemployment benefits.

    According to prosecutors, Gil poses a flight risk because he has no cash in the bank, but has crossed the Mexico border 26 times since 2012.

    The hearing date for the bond revocation has not yet been set.  Gil is set to appear in U.S. District Court in Fresno on Sept. 8 for a preliminary examination.

    Gil's attorney, Nicholas Reyes, has not returned a call for comment.


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