Posts in category Event
Your Actions Save Lives:
Celebrate 4th of July Holiday Responsibly
Ridgecrest, Calif. – As we approach the 4th of July holiday, the Ridgecrest Police Department encourages the public to be responsible and safe over Independence Day Weekend by not driving impaired.
Many 4th of July events and shows have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but more restaurants and bars are now open, making it that much more important for the Ridgecrest Police Department to keep the community safe. July 4th falls on a Saturday this year, and to keep families safe, the Ridgecrest Police Department will have extra officers on patrol throughout the Independence Day Weekend looking for drivers suspected of driving impaired.
“We are all anxious to get out and return to some sense of normalcy,” The Ridgecrest Police Department and Sergeant Tony Brown says, “But that doesn’t excuse forgetting
how to be safe on the road by driving impaired.”
The Ridgecrest Police Department reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Some prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving. Always follow directions for use and read warning labels about driving or operating heavy machinery,” which includes driving a car. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.
If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home. If you are going to a bar or restaurant, designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening. The Ridgecrest Police Department encourages the community to think of the safety of themselves and their families when enjoying the Independence Day holiday. Your actions save lives.
Funding for DUI enforcement was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
TYPE OF EVENT: PC 187 – Murder
PC 451(a) – Arson
CVC 2800.2 – Felony Evading
LOCATION: 500 block of E. Cottonwood Ave.
SUSPECT ARRESTED: George Richard Smith Jr. – DOB: 07/21/1962
On 06/30/2020, at approximately 1006 hours, The Ridgecrest Police Department received emergency calls to the area of the 500 block of E. Cottonwood Ave. regarding a residential structure fire. Upon arrival, officers located the interior of the structure fully engulfed in flames, with heavy smoke billowing from within the residence. Kern County Fire Department arrived on scene and was able to extinguish the fire. While extinguishing the fire, KCFD located an apparent deceased female inside the residence.
Ridgecrest Police Department Detectives/Officers, Kern County Fire Department Arson Unit and the Kern County Coroner’s Office worked in unison and determined the deceased female was a victim of homicide prior to the residence being lit on fire. Investigation revealed that George Smith Jr. was the suspect. Smith Jr. was later located driving his vehicle and fled from Officers when a traffic stop was attempted. With assistance from the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Smith Jr. was apprehended in the 900 block of S. China Lake Blvd. without further incident.
Smith Jr. was arrested for the above listed charges and later booked at the Central Receiving Facility in Bakersfield.
JED MCLAUGHLIN, Chief of Police
PREPARED BY: Sgt. R. Marrone – Investigations Sergeant
Ridgecrest Police Department Working to Curb Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a dangerous and illegal behavior. The Ridgecrest Police Department is working to deter drivers from doing. On June 30th, 2020, officers will focus their efforts on drivers that are talking, texting, using an app or any other action on their phone that is not hands-free and violates California’s cell phone law. A violation is subject to a $162 fine for the first offense, and at least $285 for a second offense.
Distracted driving comes in many forms, but cell phones remain the top distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,450 people were killed in 2016 due to distracted drivers. A 2018 observational survey by Fresno State and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) found nearly 5 percent of California drivers were using their phone illegally behind the wheel, either by talking on or using their phone without a hands-free device.
“Using the phone should be the last thing a driver should be focused on,” Sergeant Tony Brown said. “That text, phone call, email, picture, video or social media post can wait. None of these things are worth risking your life and the lives of other drivers and passengers over.”
In this day and age, it is natural instinct to answer the phone or read a text, but the focus for drivers should be on the road. Other distractions include eating, grooming, talking to passengers, using GPS, adjusting the radio, taking off a jacket, or reaching for an object on the floor.
If you have an important phone call or need to reprogram your navigation system, pull over to a safe parking place. To resist the urge of using your phone, either silence it or put it somewhere you can’t reach.
Funding for this distracted driving enforcement operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Jed McLaughlin, Chief of Police
PREPARED BY: Sgt. Brown