Criminal charges have been filed against a petroleum company blamed for causing oily ooze to coat a Los Angeles street and forcing the evacuation of 130 downtown residents three months ago.
Irvine-based St. James Oil Corp. was named in a nine-count criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court for alleged violations stemming from the Feb. 20 incident in the 1200 block of South Olive Street.
St. James officials could not be reached for comment. But a spokesman for the city attorney's office said the company could face fines of more than $5,000 for sending "heated injected liquid" and sediment into the street, storm drains and, eventually, Ballona Creek.
St. James faces penalties of up to $1,000 on each of the other eight counts, which include unlawful releasing of unhealthful vapors and liquids, and damaging Olive Street.