Current and former Cal-Trans workers arrested

At 5 am this morning, per a non-employee woman who was staying at the Cal-Trans yard at Willow Springs maintenance Yard, she woke to find 5 police officers in her room. She was not arrested.

At about 9 am this morning, I got a call from Rock Knocker informing me that there were a huge number of MCSO and CHP officers at “the yard” and Gorda, and four additional officers parked at Radio Point. I left about an hour and a half later, and noted a lot of officers at the yard, but none at Gorda, and saw at least one at Radio Point. (I did not pull in and look behind the rock, like RK did.)I couldn’t stop and investigate, as I had a brief due today, which meant it had to posted by priority mail today from Cambria.

After lunch with RK, sharing information, making and receiving several phone calls, including one from RK (who left early to find out what was going on) I had enough information to know that something very unusual was going down, but I was still trying to piece it together.

RK told me that his landlord, a former Cal Trans employee had been arrested, and that all his tenants had been given 30 days to move, due to code violations. I made more phone calls. I had more information.

On the way home, I noted 3 CHP cars and their drivers in the Cal Trans yard and the gate open. This was 6:30 pm. I turned around, and when I got back, the gate was closed. My mail box is there, so I stopped anyway. The gate was not locked, and was swinging open, so I walked in. CHP Officer N. Ashby immediately approached me, so I introduced myself, and showed him my press credentials and started asking him questions. He confirmed that arrests were made. I asked for the names, and he went back to the other officers, and as I started to approach, he motioned for me to stay where I was. I did. After a few minutes, he came back with 6 8×10 computer print out of photos of 6 people – 5 current Cal Trans employees, and one former employee. Each had a name at the top of the photo, which he read to me as I read over his shoulder. He gave me the name and number of the PIO for the CHP to call, with the caveat that the PIO might have already left.

I rushed to a local land line, and he had gone home, but the woman who answered the phone suggested I call the MCSO, which I did. I finally tracked down someone who confirmed the 6 arrests, but could not confirm the charges, as at 7 pm, they were “being interrogated.” I made numerous other calls, spoke to a number of locals, and eventually got home around 8:30 pm. I had groceries to carry in, dogs to take care of, more phone calls to make, and eventually got a copy of the joint press release from Cal Trans and the CHP. (Thanks to Bert.) The press release indicates 4 current and 1 former employee were arrested, but the information both the CHP and the jail provided, listed six total names. There are only 6 current employees at the yard, so only the very newest hire was not arrested.

The charges listed on the press release, as to all individuals, are grand theft, conspiracy, and theft of public monies. It further indicates that the workers were falsifying documents to increase their over-time salaries, as well as stealing Cal Trans property.

If you get KSBY or KION, there will be much more later tonight, and given the potential for notoriety, I suspect there will be more coverage in the days to come.

ED COMMENT: For us down on the South Coast who know all these people, who have helped and been helped by these workers, it is a very sad day. It will affect our entire community for months to come, not to mention the eviction of a number of residents from their homes. As a criminal defense attorney for too many years, I would just ask everyone to remember that these individuals are innocent, until the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt otherwise. So, please, do not judge until you have heard the whole story.

~ by bigsurkate on May 7, 2012.

7 Responses to “Current and former Cal-Trans workers arrested”

  1. Wow! Seems ‘fishy’. Since I am so far away, your reports are good for knowing the truth. Thanks Kate.

  2. That is journalism! Great work Kate. Sad for the families of the accused but if they are guilty may they pay to the fullest extent of the law.

  3. Very sad for south coast friends and neighbors of these folks, and as you said Kate, this will affect the whole community. I don’t know what they were thinking, but they are innocent until proven guilty, unless they confess of course. All the stolen property was found in one residence, according to the news report. My heart goes out to those now scrambling for housing, including RK. My condolences!

  4. I second FireBlogger’s congrats. What a finely woven tale, Kate, right up to an including the fact that we do not yet suffer Napoleonic Code in our courts. I’ve heard various radio reports of stolen equipment for days, big farm/highway machines, not Big Sur, somebody caught I think it was Salinas. There’s always a pirate quality to Big Sur which I’ve loved about it, truly off the grid living, canyon and hill hideouts. Hoping the bust was over-zealous. Delighted to hear so much from you these days, hoorah! Looking forward to the next installment.

  5. The sadness and pain I feel runs deep. To me and all of us, the hardworking CALTRANS have been real heroes, in keeping the precipitous road passsible in all sorts of horrendous conditions. The ones hardest hit are the families. Having lived with them at the yard, I know. Now, I have to abruptly move my property and live around the school. I’ll be ok. It is the wives and children whom I worry about. Keep them in your prayers.

  6. After being gone out of town for a week I just got to read this post. After speaking with you my heart was breaking for everyone concerned. I fell asleep that night with prayers going out for everyone. These are my friends and this pain runs deep. And even though I have moved away from Big Sur, I spent most of my life there and a huge part of my heart & soul will always reside there. Thank you for your professionalism in writing this piece and for reminding everyone that everyone involved is innocent until proven otherwise. Love & light to all involved and to the entire south coast community.

  7. THESE WORKERS WORKED IN A VERY DANGEROUS AND REMOTE PART OF THIS COUNTRY AND THE POWERS IN CHARGE DID NOT STOP THEM WHEN THEY SAW THAT THEY WERE NOT BEING TRUTHFUL ON THEIR TIME SHEETS BUT CONTINUED TO APPROVE THIS WITH OUT DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS BROUGHT UPON THEM FROM THE FIRST DAY OF THIS WRONG DOINGS
    THEY ARE VICTIMS OF ENTRAPMENT
    THE INVESTIGATOR OF THIS DID NOTHING BUT FEED A HUMAN MORE WRONG FOOD TO MAKE THEM LOOK GOOD IS NOT TO BE A HERO BUT A CRIMINAL AS WELL FOR NOT TAKING ACTION FROM DAY ONE BUT LETTING THEM BUILD IT TO A GRAND THEFT FELONY IS GARBAGE AND WRONGFUL OF THEIR DUTIES
    IF THEY WERE TOLD AND DISCIPLINED IN THE RIGHT MANNER AT DAY ONE THIS WOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED SO WHO IS AT FAULT HERE ANY WAY
    THIS IS ANOTHER CASE OF LETS BLAME SOME ONE ELSE SO WE DO NOT GET CAUGHT FOR DOING A BAD JOB
    CHEAP GLORY MIGHT AS WELL MAKE FUN OF A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY

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