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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

County Beaches Jammed With Holiday Crowds

May 30, 2000|TRACY WILSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A sun-drenched Memorial Day weekend drew to a close Monday as thousands of beachgoers flocked to the Ventura County coast for a final day of surf and sand.

Lifeguards said it was the largest beach attendance this year.

"The water is nice, the weather is warm--it's a great weekend," said Scott Parrish, a dispatcher for the state lifeguards in Ventura. "Hopefully, it is a precursor to a nice summer."

The huge crowds kept lifeguards on their toes, however.

On Monday, a dangerous rip current pulled dozens of people away from the Ventura shore. Lifeguards performed 22 rescues, more than half a dozen of them off the beaches in the Pierpont area alone.

Parrish said there were no reports of serious injuries.

"There is kind of a large swell running right now," Parrish said. "And these conditions are set up for real big rip currents."

The National Weather Service reported temperatures in the mid-70s along the coast to the mid-90s inland. The hottest spot in the county over the weekend was Ojai, which hit 96 degrees on Saturday.

Meteorologist David Gomberg said warm temperatures should continue throughout the week, cooling off by Thursday and Friday.

"The June gloom pattern should return later in the week," Gomberg said. "That will really cool things off."

The holiday weekend brought one traffic fatality and 30 drunk-driving arrests, the California Highway Patrol reported. There were 21 drunk-driving arrests last year.

A 38-year-old Tarzana woman was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver on Saturday outside the annual Cajun music festival in Simi Valley.

Lora Jacobs and her boyfriend, 41-year-old Gary Gillett of Tarzana, were crossing Los Angeles Avenue near Rancho Santa Susana Community Park when they were struck by a pickup truck.

Jacobs was pronounced dead at Simi Valley Hospital. Gillett remained in critical condition Monday at the hospital.

The driver, 36-year-old Frank Padilla of Simi Valley, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. He was released after posting $12,500 bail.

Elsewhere in the county, the Ventura County Fire Department airlifted two children from the shores of Lake Piru about 5 p.m. Monday.

Authorities said they had received a report of two children drowning in the lake, but rescuers found the children out of the water when they arrived. The children were taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where they were in stable condition Monday evening. Their names and ages were not released.

Meanwhile, rescue teams with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department continued searching for a 30-year-old Garden Grove man who disappeared Saturday while swimming with family and friends at Lake Piru.

Vy Xuan Dang was last seen about 12:30 p.m. near a dam at the lake, sheriff's officials said. Dang's friends told park rangers that they were swimming with him when he disappeared.

A team of divers was called out to conduct an underwater search, but Dang was still missing as Monday afternoon.

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