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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

More Rain in Forecast for Region

Weather: Nearly 100 traffic accidents are reported as precipitation exceeds an inch in many areas. Chilly, wet system is expected to linger.

February 26, 2001|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Showing no signs of moving on any time soon, a persistent Pacific storm dumped another inch of rain on much of Ventura County on Sunday and contributed to nearly 100 traffic accidents on local roads, authorities said.

By Sunday evening, light rain continued to fall in many areas, mixing with snow flurries in the back country above Ojai where temperatures hovered in the low-30s for most of the day.

Highs throughout the county averaged about 50 degrees. More of the same damp, chilly weather should continue across the county for the first part of the week, said Bruce Rockwell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

"It's going to be pretty wet for the next couple of days," Rockwell said.

Slightly more than an inch of rain was reported in eastern Simi Valley, Ojai and Ventura, and nearly an inch fell on Piru and Santa Paula. Half an inch fell in Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Thousand Oaks.

More than a foot of snow remained on the ground in Lockwood Valley, and Rockwell predicted more new snow above 4,500 feet.

Residents of remote Lockwood Valley said the cold, wet conditions kept the usual weekend snow seekers at a minimum.

"There weren't a lot of snow bunnies today, but I think that was because it was so rainy," said Cathy Sheeran, a Ventura County Sheriff's dispatcher at the Lockwood Valley substation.

As the rain picked up again Sunday following a Saturday storm, a series of traffic accidents occurred on county highways.

The most serious crash happened just after 11 a.m. on the westbound Ronald Reagan Freeway near Kuehner Drive. A car carrying a couple and their young daughter careened off the road about 40 feet and flipped, injuring all three.

"[The driver] probably hit some water and lost it," Ventura County Fire Capt. Kerry Ellison said.

Passing drivers stopped and pulled the girl from the wreckage, but firefighters had to use cutting tools to tear off the car's roof to free her parents.

The three were taken to Simi Valley Hospital with what firefighters described as minor to moderate injuries. Their names and condition were not immediately available.

Two other minor crashes, including one involving another vehicle that flipped, occurred near the same area on the Ronald Reagan Freeway at about the same time, Ellison said.

Neither resulted in serious injuries, Ellison said.

A crash early Sunday on Borchard Road just east of Reino Road in Thousand Oaks left a Newbury Park man in critical condition at Los Robles Regional Medical Center.

Ronald Kevin Puckett, 27, lost control of his 1983 Chevrolet Suburban in the 1:30 a.m. crash, Ventura County sheriff's officials said. The car knocked down a fence before slamming into a brick pillar and flipping into a flood control channel.

Puckett, who sustained head and chest injuries, was thrown from the vehicle and was found lying several feet away, said Sheriff's Sgt. Patti Salas.

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