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Storm Boosts Rainfall Totals, Leaves Accidents in Its Wake

The weather postpones the weekend's Conejo Valley Days events and leads to a Lompoc woman's death in a crash near Piru.

May 04, 2003|Holly J. Wolcott | Times Staff Writer

A two-day Pacific storm that swept through Ventura County dropped more than 4 inches of rain in the mountains and contributed to the death of a woman in a crash on California 126 near Piru.

The late-season storm also forced the postponement of the 40th annual Conejo Valley Days parade, rodeo and carnival in Thousand Oaks. The carnival will resume Thursday.

It was only the second time that rain shut out events at the popular two-month-long festival, which starts in early March and culminates in a five-day carnival. The last time was in 1983.

"I would imagine that the kids who practice so hard for the parade, the band members and such, would be extremely disappointed," said event spokeswoman Diane Rumbaugh, "but you can't do much about Mother Nature."

No rain, but partly cloudy skies and daytime highs in the mid-60s were forecast for today and Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Between the onset of rain late Friday and the end Saturday afternoon, rainfall totals were pushed above normal levels in several cities.

Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks each received about 2 inches of rain, bringing season totals in those areas to between 13 and 15 inches.

The rainfall season, as measured by the Ventura County Flood Control District, starts Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30. These cities had recorded half as much rain at this time last season.

In the mountains around Ojai, some areas received as much as 4.3 inches of rain. Slick roadways were reported across the county, causing dozens of fender-benders, according to the California Highway Patrol.

About noon Saturday, an elderly Canoga Park couple were injured when their Honda Accord slid off California 33, just north of Ventura, and came to rest upside-down on an embankment.

Archie Werner, 83, and his wife, Sylvia, 80, were treated for minor injuries at an area hospital and released, CHP officers at the scene said. The Werners were headed to Casitas Springs to see their daughter.

About 7:45 p.m. Friday, Erlinda M. Echavarria, 51, of Lompoc was killed when the car in which she was a passenger hydroplaned across California 126 east of Piru, slid down an embankment and overturned.

Echavarria and three friends were traveling to Las Vegas for a weekend vacation, authorities said. The others, Maida Grijalva, 74, and her daughter, Stella Grijalva, 47, both of Lompoc, and Maida Mary Greenberg, 37, of Camarillo, were treated for minor injuries and released.

Echavarria had reached behind her seat for something just prior to the crash, possibly loosening her seat belt, said CHP Officer Fred Baskin.

Greenberg, who was driving, was not cited.

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