Press Releases

Accessory to Manslaughter, felony hit and run

Release Date/Time: 8/25/2017 10:45 AM
Incident: Accessory to Manslaughter, felony hit and run
Date: Thursday, 8/24/2017
Time: 04:30 PM
Location: 1072 Industrial Street

Release Authorized by: Gerard D Ross, Sergeant
Telephone: (831) 758-7975

On May 29, 2017, at about 8:45 PM, Michele Lightcap, age 44, was crossing West Blanco Road when she was struck and killed by a hit and run driver. The owner of the suspect vehicle, Marco Soto, age 40, later called the police to report that his vehicle had been stolen.

After a 2 ½-month investigation, Salinas Police were able to show that Soto's girlfriend, Julia Ryan, age 25, had been driving. On August 15th, Ryan was arrested and booked for several charges including manslaughter and felony hit and run.

Salinas Police Detectives continued the investigation and found that Soto had assisted Ryan on the night of the fatal collision and had falsely reported the car stolen when he knew Ryan had been involved in the collision.

Soto is an owner of MD towing at 1072 Industrial Street in Salinas. On August 24, Salinas PD, Salinas Code Enforcement, Salinas Fire, and Serco parking company conducted a business inspection at MD Towing unrelated to the collision. During the inspection, Salinas detectives contacted Soto at the business. Detectives arrested and booked Soto for being an accessory to a felony, filing a false report, violation of probation, and allowing an unlicensed driver to drive.  

Salinas Code Enforcement had decided to conduct the business inspection due to several citizen complaints. Code Enforcement found several violations that the business will be required to correct. Eleven citations were written for illegally parked vehicles and eight vehicles were towed from the business for various reasons. A .22 cal. rifle was found in one of the vehicles.

Salinas Code Enforcement will follow up with the business to make sure all violations are corrected.

Homicide Arrest

In January 2016, the Salinas Police Department released a request asking for help in finding missing person, Paulino Guzman III (see below).  At the time of the release, it was strongly believed that Guzman had been murdered while attending a party in an apartment in the 2200 Block of N. Main St.  Over the course the last year, Detectives have been tenaciously following up on information, and conducting numerous interviews and searches that ultimately  led to the issuance of a $2.2 million dollar arrest warrant, charging one-count of homicide, for Tai Cruz (23) of Salinas.  Cruz was located at his place of employment in Monterey on Friday evening (1/13/17) and arrested without incident.  He was later booked into Monterey County Jail.

A press conference on this case will take place at the Salinas Police Department's Chief's Conference Room at 3PM today.  All members of the press are invited, however, it is not open to the general public. 

****Original Press Release from January 20, 2016****

Missing Person

The Salinas Police Department is asking for help locating a missing person with suspicious circumstances. Family members of Paulino Guzman III came to the Salinas Police Department to report him missing. It appears the last time Guzman was seen or heard from was on December 12, 2015. At the time, he was in good spirits with no known plans to leave town. Guzman is an 18-year-old Hispanic male, 5'10” tall and weighing approximately 180 lbs. He has the letters 'es” tattooed near his left eye and Aztec numerals tattooed near his right eye.

Anyone who may have seen or heard from Guzman, or may have information on his whereabouts, is asked to contact Detective Sivertson at 831-758-7132 or the Investigations Division at 831-758-7226. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78-CRIME, or text information to the Text Tip Line with the code "SPD831" to "847411". A photograph of Guzman is available to media outlets upon request.

 

DUI checkpoint

Release Date/Time: 8/24/2017 10:40 AM
Incident: DUI checkpoint
Date: Thursday, 8/24/2017
Time: 06:00 PM
Location: Salinas

Release Authorized by: Gerard D Ross, Sergeant
Telephone: (831) 758-7975

The Salinas Police Department will be conducting a DUI Checkpoint tonight at an undisclosed location in Salinas starting at 6 PM. The location was chosen due to a history of DUI arrests and collisions in the area. The checkpoint will run for about 5 hours.

Studies have proven that DUI checkpoints reduce the number of DUI crashes and the number of injuries and deaths associated with these crashes. The purpose of the checkpoint is to promote public safety, act as a deterrent to drunk/drugged driving, and educate the public on the dangers of drunk/drugged driving.

Funding for the checkpoint is provided through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Pedestrian Sting

Release Date/Time: 8/24/2017 10:30 AM
Incident: Pedestrian Sting
Date: Tuesday, 8/22/2017
Time: 08:00 AM
Location: Various locations in Salinas, CA

Release Authorized by: Gerard D Ross, Traffic Sergeant
Telephone: 831-758-7975

On Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 5 officers from the Salinas Police Department conducted a pedestrian sting at various locations throughout the City of Salinas for nearly 10 hours. The sting was conducted at locations where pedestrians have been seriously hurt or killed. Some of the locations included North Main Street/Navajo Drive, Natividad Road/Sorrentini Drive, and Abbott Street/Maple Street.

An officer in plain clothes would walk back and forth in the crosswalk while officers in uniform driving marked patrol cars or motorcycles were waiting in the wings. If a driver violated the right-of-way of the pedestrian officer, the uniformed officers would make the traffic stop and write a citation. In all, officers stopped about 90 vehicles and wrote 77 citations.     

'This year we have already had four pedestrians killed in Salinas as a result of a vehicle collision,” said Sergeant Gerry Ross. 'This is unacceptable. Hopefully, this sting operation will change some driving behaviors.”

Sergeant Ross also added that the officers did not cite any drivers for borderline violations. All of the citations were written to drivers who had a clear opportunity to see the officer crossing the street and had plenty of time to come to a stop. 'All of the citations were written to drivers for blatant, dangerous violations of the law,” he said.

Funding for both operations was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Homicide on Aug. 23

Release Date/Time: 8/23/2017 2:45 PM
Incident: Homicide on Aug. 23
Date: Wednesday, 8/23/2017
Time: 7:45 AM
Location: 219 John St.

Release Authorized by: Chris Lane, Investigations Sergeant
Telephone: 831-758-7496

On August 23, 2017, at approximately 7:45 am, a person called Monterey County Communications regarding a sick or injured person in the rear parking lot of the Budget Inn. While medical personnel were in route, the caller thought the injured person might be deceased. At that time, Salinas Police officers were also dispatched. When medical and police personnel arrived, they found a 34-year-old male deceased. Based on the evidence at the scene, Salinas Police detectives were called and started a homicide investigation. 

The victim appears to have been a regular that slept on the property, with permission from management. It is unknown what lead up to his death but it is being investigated as a homicide. The cause of death or any other details will not be released at this time. 

This is the 22nd homicide in Salinas this year. At this time, this incident is not being investigated was gang related. The Investigations Bureau is asking anyone with information on what might have occurred to contact Detective Rudy Roman at (831) 758-7913. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous rime Tip Line at (831) 775-4222, or the We-Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME. 

Vehicle Pursuit and Apprehension of a Parole Violator

Release Date/Time: 8/19/2017 4:30 PM
Incident: Vehicle Pursuit and Apprehension of a Parole Violator
Date: Friday, 8/18/2017
Time: 4:30 AM
Location:  100 block of North Madiera

Release Authorized by: Dave Crabill, Commander
Telephone: 831-758-7250

On August 18, at approximately 4:30 am, Salinas Police Officer Luis Toribio attempted to make a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by a wanted parolee, Noel Sierra, 38 in the area of East Market Street and North Hebbron Avenue. Sierra failed to stop and led officers on a vehicle pursuit. Sierra turned into a driveway in the 100 block of North Madiera, struck a parked car and crashed into the southeast corner of a residence. A 29-year-old male resident was sleeping just inside of the residence. He was forced out of his bed and thrown across the room. He was later transported to Natividad Medical Center where he was treated and released for back and side pain. After the collision, Sierra fled on foot, jumping fences attempting to avoid capture. He was located in the back yard of a nearby residence and taken into custody without further incident. The residence that Sierra struck was so structurally damaged by the collision that it had to be red tagged. This affected not only the injured victim but the rest of the occupants residing at the residence (3 adults and 3 children). The Red Cross was requested to assist the occupants. Salinas Fire and PG&E assisted in the investigation. Sierra was wanted on a felony no bail warrant for parole violation. Sierra was also transported to a Natividad Medical Center for treatment of injuries that he had suffered during two previous crimes that he committed. Sierra was later booked into the Monterey County Jail for parole violation, felony hit and run, evading law enforcement, etc…

Attempted Murder (Shooting)

Release Date/Time: 8/18/2017 11:00 AM
Incident: Attempted Murder (Shooting)
Date: Friday, 8/18/2017
Time: 1:00 AM
Location: 300 Block of Williams Rd.

Release Authorized by: Danny Warner, Sergeant
Telephone: 831-758-7250

Just after 1 a.m., a 33-year-old male was shot multiple times, while on the 300 block of Williams Rd. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment. This incident is being investigated as gang related.

Summer Campaign/Labor Day DUI Enforcement

Release Date/Time: 8/17/2017 11:30 AM
Incident: Summer Campaign/Labor Day DUI Enforcement
Date: Thursday, 8/17/2017
Time: 11:30 AM
Location: Salinas, CA

Release Authorized by: Gerard D Ross, Sergeant
Telephone: 831-758-7975

This Labor Day, the Salinas Police Department

Reminds Citizens to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

In Effort to End Impaired Driving
 

The end of summer is traditionally marked by the Labor Day holiday, a time for our country to reflect on the hard work of our fellow Americans. The long weekend is celebrated with picnics, pool parties, and barbecues, as families and friends enjoy the last few days of summer before fall and winter approach. Sadly, the Labor Day holiday is also one of the deadliest, with alcohol and drug impaired drivers endangering themselves and others on America's roadways.

This year, the Salinas PD is partnering with police, sheriffs, and the CHP across the state to stop impaired drivers and help save lives. The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from August 18 through September 4, 2017.

The DUI Enforcement Team will be deploying this weekend to stop and arrest alcohol and drug-impaired drivers. DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy on various nights throughout the 18-day period and Salinas PD will be conducting a DUI/Driver's License Checkpoint at a yet undisclosed place and time in an area with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests. These extra officers on the road, along with routine patrols, are aimed to drastically reduce impaired driving on our community's roadways.

Statistics nationwide show a dangerous trend in impaired driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,265 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2015, a three percent rise in deaths over 2014. That's roughly one person killed every 51 minutes in 2015. That's the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing each year, with no survivors. This is why Salinas PD is working to remind drivers that impaired driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death.

Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes.

In recent years, California has seen an increase in drug-impaired driving crashes. Salinas PD supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that 'DUI Doesn't Just Mean Booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana use can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.

Plan your sober ride home before the party begins as the end of summer activities wrap up. It is never okay to drive impaired. Even if you've had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home safely.

Drivers are encouraged to download the Designated Driver VIP, or 'DDVIP,” free mobile app for Android or iPhone. The DDVIP app helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated sober driver, from free non-alcoholic drinks to free appetizers and more.

Have family or a friend who is about to drive buzzed or impaired? Take the keys away and arrange to get your friend home safely. The cost of a ride home is cheap. Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions, and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.

Funding for this DUI operation is provided to the Salinas Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1'.

Arrest for Manslaughter and Hit & Run with Death

Release Date/Time: 8/15/2017 3:30 PM
Incident: Arrest for Manslaughter and Hit & Run with Death
Date: Tuesday, 8/15/2017
Time: 11:00 AM
Location: 1000 block Industrial Street

Release Authorized by: Gerard D Ross, Sergeant
Telephone: 831-758-7975

On May 29, 2017, at about 8:45 PM, Michele Lightcap, age 44, was walking on the south sidewalk of W. Blanco Road. As she crossed the street northbound, she was struck by a red 2003 Chevy Silverado pickup. The suspect fled the scene. Lightcap was taken by ambulance to Natividad Medical Center where she was pronounced deceased. A couple of hours later, the suspect vehicle was reported stolen.

Shortly after 3 AM, a California Highway Patrol officer spotted a vehicle that matched the description near U.S. 101 and Madeira Avenue. From evidence left at the scene, officers were able to confirm that this was the pickup used in the hit and run and that it was the pickup that was reported stolen.

During an extensive 2½ month investigation, Salinas detectives were able to garner enough evidence to show that Julia Ryan, 25, had been driving the truck at the time of the collision. On today's date, Ryan was arrested for the crime. At the time of her arrest, she was found to be in possession of heroin, methamphetamines, and drug paraphernalia. Ryan was also found to have several outstanding arrest warrants including a warrant for failing to appear on an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs. Ryan is an acquaintance of the owner of the truck.

Ryan was booked into Monterey County Jail for Vehicular Manslaughter, Vehicular Manslaughter and fleeing the scene, Hit and Run causing Death, Failure to Report Hit and Run with Death, Driving on a Suspended License, Possession of Heroin, Possession of Methamphetamines, Possession of Paraphernalia, and multiple outstanding arrest warrants.

Attempted Murder - Shooting

Release Date/Time: 8/15/2017 3:15 PM
Incident: Attempted Murder - Shooting
Date: Sunday, 8/13/2017
Time: 1:09 AM
Location: 1000 block of Rider Ave.

Release Authorized by: Chris Lane, Investigations Sergeant
Telephone: 831-758-7496

In the early morning hours of Sunday, August 13, 2017, officers responded to a ShotSpotter activation in the 1000 block of Rider Ave. At 1:09 am, ShotSpotter alerted to multiple shots occurring, when officers arrived they found evidence of a shooting but no victims. No calls were received that a shooting occurred. Very shortly after that, a Salinas Police officer at Natividad Medical Center on an unrelated call was advised of two victims with gunshot wounds that had arrived at the emergency room.

Two males, a 20-year-old and a 22-year-old, arrived at the hospital, each suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The 20-year-old stated he had arrived in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 1000 block of Rider Ave. to drop off his cousin. As they sat in the car, a person came up and started shooting at them. The 20-year-old immediately started driving away realizing he and his cousin had been shot. He drove directly to Natividad Medical Center for treatment. He could provide no further information regarding the shooting.

The 20-year-old is listed in serious condition and the 22-year-old is in critical condition with serious, life-threatening wounds.

This shooting is being investigated as gang related. Anyone with information related to the crime or who may have been a witness is encouraged to contact the Salinas Police Department Investigations Bureau at (831) 758-7226. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78-CRIME.

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Question of the Day

What can I do if I see a car parked in my neighborhood which I think may be abandoned?

The City of Salinas has people specifically designated to handle abandoned vehicles and long-term parking problems. These problems are generally handled on a complaint basis. The abandoned vehicle office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. The phone number, day or night, is (831) 758-7316.

The following information will help you determine whether or not a vehicle has been abandoned or is a long-term parking problem:

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