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2013 Year in review


• Barstow resident Antonio Angelo, 29, was charged with attempted murder after choking and threatening to kill his 14-week pregnant girlfriend in a Motel 6 hotel room Jan. 1. Angelo would plead guilty and was sentenced to seven years in state prison.

• Two Barstow Community Hospital staff members welcomed their first child and the hospital’s first baby born in 2013 on Jan. 2. Matt and Kayla Washington were expecting a “New Year’s baby” but after more than 12 hours of labor, Raylee Washington made a late arrival, but was still the hospital’s first born baby in 2013.

• After more than 20-years of service, Mike Hunter was sworn in as the Lieutenant of the Barstow Police Department at a Barstow City Council meeting.

• Garrett Ige and Lawrence Hughes were found guilty for the 2003 deaths of Haang Chin and Cheuk Cheung. The two men were charged with double homicide, which included dumping and burning the victim’s bodies in a remote part of Lenwood.

• Two Las Vegas men led Barstow Police Department on a high-speed chase through the Barstow Heights area after stealing a man’s car from Valero gas station, located at 1401 East Main Street. Chane Anderson and Michael Tapps attempted to flee before they were captured and booked for vehicle theft, possession of stolen property and evading police.

• Merrill Gracey was selected to fill the Barstow City Council’s open seat on Jan. 14 after the council unanimously voted to appoint him after interviewing nine candidates.

• London O’Connor, a sixth-grade student at Thompson Elementary School, was selected from a pool of National Young Scholars to attend a five-day conference, including U.S.. President Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.

• Clarence Sanchez, president of the American Federation of Government employees, was found dead hours after being released from jail. Sanchez apparently committed suicide following charges he engaged in lewd acts with a child under 14 or 15 years old.

• Aaron Antill, 38, a Phelan resident, died the same morning he was scheduled to be sentenced in Barstow for the sexual assault of a boy as young as 13 years old — with one incident occurring at a Barstow truck stop.

• Christian Bunty, 40, who was being held in an Idaho jail since late 2012 following his arrest for a Barstow double murder which occurred almost 18 years earlier, was booked at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

• A Barstow man was featured in the book, “Portraits of Service: Looking into the Faces of Veterans” published under the direction of Gen. George Patton’s granddaughter. Robert Izumi, 89, survived a Japanese internment camp before he served in three wars. He was a member of the 101st Airborne Division during World War II and fought in the Seige of Bastogne to protect the small Belgian town from Germans.

• Yermo Elementary School was placed on lockdown for two hours after a student witnessed a male with a BB gun near the school. California Highway Patrol performed an extensive search and deemed the school and area safe.


• With the May closure of the Barstow Courthouse seemingly imminent, 1st and 3rd district supervisors Robert Lovingood and James Ramos met with court officials to discuss mitigating impacts to the public. A possible short-term solution was deemed providing adequate and affordable transportation to court-goers who will be forced to make longer trips.

• A 1-year-old boy was unharmed after a three-hour standoff between Luis Espiritu, the boy’s father, and the Barstow Police Department. Espiritu was arrested after refusing to surrender to BPD after his live-in girlfriend told officers he physically assaulted her in front of their two children. Espiritu was later sentenced to one year in county jail and three years of supervised probation.

• Raymond Hernandez pleaded guilty to lewd or lascivious acts with a child after the district attorney’s office agreed to drop a sexual penetration charge. The 72-year-old Barstow man accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl.

• Reports that Christopher Dorner was sighted in the Barstow area were deemed “unconfirmed” and “not true” on Feb. 8. Various news outlets reported Dorner was possibly last seen in Barstow during the manhunt of the former LAPD officer. Dorner was located in Big Bear and was pronounced dead on Feb. 12.

• Six soldiers from the National Training Center at Fort Irwin were injured after they were assisting the movement of equipment for an Army Unit. Three of the soldiers were transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and a Las Vegas hospital. The other three soldiers were treated for minor injuries at Weed Army Community Hospital at Fort Irwin.

• Silver Valley Unified School District Superintendent Marc Jackson was named the San Bernardino County Superintendent of the Year as selected by the Association of California School Administrators. In 2012, SVUSD accumulated an API score of 796, with four of its six ranked schools scoring over the statewide goal of 800.

• Scott Johnson was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of forcible lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14. The Barstow resident was arraigned in 2012 on charges of molesting seven of his female relatives in 2007, ranging between the ages of 5 to 10 years old. His wife, Mioshi, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison after knowing of the crimes and not doing anything to stop them.

• The Barstow Unified School District school board voted unanimously to close Thomson Elementary School and 4-1 to close Hinkley School following the 2012-13 school year.

• Fort Irwin officials confirmed a soldier died after bring injured in a training exercise at the National Training Center on Feb. 20. Spc. Robert Sonnenburg III was on rotation at Fort Irwin with the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team 1st Infantry Division and was injured and succumbed to injuries two days later.


• A local Old Spanish Trail Association chapter is a reality as the 11th one in existence officially started in Barstow, according to inaugural President Tim Baggerly.

• Lucas Donahue, 32, an active-duty Army sergeant first class, entered into a plea bargain in September for multiple gun and drug charges and was sentenced at Barstow Superior Court to four years in prison.

• Dimekko Alexander, 19, was charged with sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a 13-year-old girl after a local medical group reported the victim was pregnant to police.

• Actor Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band played a gig at Fort Irwin. Sinise is famous for his role as Lt. Dan in the film “Forrest Gump” and has played a number of concerts for military personnel since 2004 through his commitment to the USO.

• A fire caused by an electrical system malfunction destroyed three mobile homes inside a mobile home park on West Main Street. No injuries were reported.

•Garrett Ige, 27, and Lawrence Hughes, 28, were found guilty Jan. 9 of the 2003 murders of Haang “Edward” Chin and Cheuk “Alan” Cheung. They were sentenced to serve two consecutive life sentences in state prison without the possibility of parole.

• The Town of Hinkley is featured in a two-part PBS NewsHour this week that focuses on what has happened to the town since the water pollution issue that inspired the film “Erin Brockovich.”

• Fontana Superior Court Judge Dan Detienne found sufficient evidence for Bunty to stand trial for the 1995 double homicide of Riley and Adamson.

• As part of a “national day of action,” registered nurses picketed Barstow Community Hospital amid stalled labor negotiations and with concerns including nurse-to-patient ratios and mandatory overtime.

• Officials from Pacific Gas and Electric declined BUSD’s request of $300,000 to help keep Hinkley School open for the 2013-14 school year.

• A gun-toting thief hit Robertiroz Mexican Restaurant and tied up an employee before making his escape. The employee told police he momentarily stepped outside. When he returned, the suspect was waiting inside where he confronted the employee with a handgun, demanded his wallet and stole money from the cash register. Later that month, Miguel Rios, 32, Enrique Zuniga, 22, and Anthony Torres, 21, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

• About 20 people were spared injury when a California Highway Patrol officer noticed flames underneath the backside a tour bus and pulled over the vehicle on Interstate 15 near Fort Irwin Road.

• A sweep resulted in 32 arrests as four agencies collectively sought out suspected and potential violators of probation and parole.

• Newberry Springs resident David Douglas Knapp, 33, pleaded not guilty to attempting to kill his wife, making a criminal threat and inflicting bodily injury on a spouse or cohabitant during his in-custody arraignment.

• 2004 Barstow High School graduate Stephanie Alderete was named a Top 5 Rising Chef in the U.S. for 2013 by, a website specializing in dining, travel and lifestyle.

• Yermo resident Haeleigh Taylor Jensen, 19, was at the wheel of a 2002 Ford F-150 pickup that veered off Interstate 15 and overturned near Fort Irwin Road and was pronounced dead at the scene.

• Former Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks was arrested and held on $100,000 bail after leading officers on a high-speed chase that ended in Victorville, the same day he was ousted from that state’s legislature. Brooks pleaded not guilty to multiple criminal charges five days later.

• CBS News aired a segment on the Silver Valley School District’s federal funding cuts as result of the March 1 sequestration.


• A 61-year-old man was killed in a crash involving two big rigs and at least two other vehicles on Highway 395 north of Shadow Mountain Road. The road was closed for several hours as authorities cleaned up more than 100 gallons of spilled diesel fuel and large amount of carrots.

• Juliette Manzanares was crowned Miss Barstow and Jalynn Santos was crowned Teen Miss Barstow at the conclusion of the 74th annual pageant in Barstow.

• Darnell Cleveland was shot in the front yard of a Dolph Court residence and was pronounced dead after being transported to Barstow Community Hospital. Devontea Cole was also shot, but survived after being airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center with “serious gunshot injuries.” The suspect, Gregory Williams, was spotted approximately 10 minutes later and arrested.

• Richard “Kaos” Harris, 31, and Lamont “Squirrel” Bluitt, 40, of Compton were arrested for kicking and punching 59-year-old Michael Dudzinski of Barstow in the head several times during an attempt to steal cash from him at the Desert Inn Motel. Dudzinski, in self defense, stabbed Harris in the lower left torso but was ultimately left unconscious and suffering from head trauma, including facial bleeding.

• Judy Gayler was the recipient of a brand new car after Soutar’s auto dealership, celebrating their 50th anniversary, culminated a 12-month giveaway contest.

• Engine trouble and power loss were what forced a single-engine airplane to make an emergency landing on Highway 247 south of Barstow. The plane, a 1992 American General AG5B Tiger, was en route from Las Vegas to La Verne and above the Barstow area when pilot Joseph Latourelle, 59, broadcasted a “mayday” following the mechanical failure. No injuries were reported.

• The murder of local woman Leisa Hurst in early 2009 and subsequent conviction of boyfriend Jeami Chiapulis was the subject of a “Desperate Measures” episode, entitled “Blood in Barstow,” on cable channel Discovery’s investigation. The episode featured footage of the Barstow area and commentary from local people close to the case — including Barstow Police Sgt. Andy Espinoza and Detective Keith Libby, Deputy District Attorney Sean Daugherty and former Desert Dispatch staff writer Katie Lucia.

• Two main water lines broke on Main Street causing an overflow of water in the streets westward all the way from Avenue A to Avenue E and in a second location at Main Street and Third Street. The breaks occurred at about 3 p.m. and the primary cause was old and weak piping.


• Bernice “Bea” Berglund turned 100 and celebrated her birthday with close friends and family at the giant 7,000 square-foot geodesic dome house of Newberry Springs resident Lois Davidson.

• A big rig driver was struck and killed while attending to a flat tire about one mile south of the Tanger Outlet Center along northbound Interstate 15. The 66-year-old man from Los Angeles, pulled over to the right shoulder of the interstate and was on the front left side of the vehicle when the driver of an oncoming big rig rear-ended the vehicle and also struck the man. The driver of the second semi-truck, a 41-year-old male from Chicago, allowed his big rig to drift into the right shoulder for unknown reasons.

• Raul Aldrete was sentenced to 37 years to life in prison for shooting his ex-fiance in the left shoulder, an incident which earned him his third strike. Aldrete was previously convicted of assault with a firearm on a person, inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

• Three young Barstow men were airlifted to Antelope Valley Hospital for treatment of major injuries after crashing into a dead-end dirt embankment at “P” Street and Azurite Road. Yoshimura Rodriguez, 18, was driving a white 1996 Honda Civic northbound on “P” Street from Highview Avenue in the Barstow Heights area when he began street racing with another vehicle. Accelerating to between 60 and 80 miles per hour, Rodriguez failed to negotiate an eastward turn onto Azurite Road, striking a raised concrete curb and dirt embankment at the end of “P” Street.

• A man engaged in a shootout with law enforcement after he crashed his damaged Volvo into a gas station fence near Cima Road, ending a low-speed pursuit along northbound Interstate 15. The man was shot by California Highway Patrol officers and was pronounced dead at the scene.


• A woman was airlifted following a single-car rollover on Interstate 15 near Zzyzx Road and the fleeing driver, Jose Luis Bueno Jr., of Norwalk, was arrested for felony DUI and hit-and-run after deputies tracked his footprints nearly three miles into the desert and found him hiding behind bushes.

• Larry Jose Guerra, 62, of Barstow, drowned in the North Beach area of Silver Lakes designated for swimming after spending the day with his family. The incident occurred after Guerra’s family noticed he was missing and began to search for him in the water. Guerra was found submerged in 9 feet of water near a floating dock, approximately 50 feet from shore and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

• Carolyn McElroy, 45, was arrested for striking her elderly boyfriend Fermin Aragon, 75, with a bat several times in front of a residence on the 400 block of South First Avenue. McElroy was charged on suspicion of attempted murder after the couple, who had been dating for 10 months, engaged in an argument.

• Barstow resident Pete Quintana was arrested after allegedly pulling a handgun on a 14-year-old and his father during an argument over the whereabouts of his then-missing 5-year-old son. After Quintana was arrested, his son was safely found sleeping within his own residence.

• Groundwater contaminated by higher levels of hexavalent chromium in Hinkley migrated west and became within a mile radius of a school, a market and a church. The three properties became eligible for Pacific Gas and Electric’s property purchase program, which includes any property within a mile radius of the chromium 6 plume.

• Actors Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf spent two days at the National Training Center doing research for future movie roles in the World War II film “Fury.”

• A human fetus with a gestational age incapable of sustaining life was reportedly found in a cup in the front yard of a residence on the 600 block of Nancy Street. Criminal charges against the woman responsible for leaving the fetus in public were not pursued.


• The five-person governing body of Newberry Springs was cited by the San Bernardino County Grand Jury for unprofessional conduct, violating state rules during public meetings and financial mismanagement. The Grand Jury investigation was brought on by several citizen complaints regarding the CSD’s conduct during meetings. Calvin Owens, a volunteer firefighter and recent director of the Newberry Springs Community Services District, would later resign.

• A MEGA Millions lottery ticket valued at $338,643 was sold at the AM/PM minimarket on Montara Road. The winning ticket contained all five numbers of the multi-state drawing, and was only missing the MEGA number.

• Col. Jon Braga succeeded outgoing garrison commander Col. Kurt Pinkerton at Fort Irwin’s Garrison Command.

• Dr. John Izbicki, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, began studying the groundwater conditions in Hinkley to determine the naturally occurring level of hexavalent chromium, or chromium 6.

• Dinalynn Andrews Potter, of Barstow, allegedly assaulted revered musician Lester Chambers and yelled “It’s all your fault!” after he dedicated a song to Trayvon Martin at a Bay Area blues festival. Chambers was taken to a Hayward-area hospital and suffered a bruised rib muscle and nerve damage. It was later discovered that Potter suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

• Dunkin’ Donuts announced that it will open its second store in California at Barstow Station on Nov. 1.

• Ex-Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks was ordered to stand trial for multiple criminal charges four months after a high-speed pursuit along Interstate 15 ended with his arrest in Victorville.

• The family of Priscilla Delzell said she didn’t return to her residence in North Barstow Irwin Estates on July 18 after her the family reported that she had left for a midday walk into the nearby desert.

• About 3,000 active duty soldiers at Fort Irwin were without power after four major utility poles providing power to the entire Fort Irwin Army installation were knocked down during a severe thunderstorm that ripped through Barstow. Several single soldiers from the barracks slept in their cars on Monday night to avoid the nearly 80 degree overnight heat.

• Officials of Pacific Gas and Electric presented an alternative plume map to the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. The company was under order by the water board to report the latest numbers from monitoring wells and to draw the plume line quarterly to include any well that reaches above 3.1 parts per billion of hexavalent chromium and is within 2,000 feet of the plume. That number was determined to be within a statistical range of what the company previously studied as the naturally occurring level of the chemical in the Hinkley Valley.


• Bonnie Legler, of Barstow, was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly approaching a woman in the area of the post office, calling her several names, accusing her of being “a spy for Canada” and then attacking her.

• An activist group based in Joshua Tree began promoting AB 1213, dubbed the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013, which would make bobcat trapping illegal in a buffer zone around Joshua Tree National Park beginning next year. The bill would also pave the way for similar buffer zones to be placed around other national or state parks, national monuments, wildlife refuges and other public or private conservation areas. The bill would eventually pass later in the year.

• The Hi Desert Meals on Wheels program shut its doors on seniors at local centers due to a lack of funding. The Barstow Senior Center would take over food-making and delivery operations to seniors living in the High Desert.

• National Geographic named the Mojave Desert one of the 100 World’s Most Beautiful Places.

• Gene Harvey, owner and operator of the Skyline Drive-In in Barstow, discusses the financial troubles to convert his theater to an all digital operation, and possible closure. Movie studios are phasing out 35-mm film prints, and the switch to an eventually all-digital distribution system which could cost Harvey $75,000 per screen.

• The family home of a Barstow woman reported missing was searched by sheriff’s deputies, though they did not officially rule her disappearance a crime or name any suspects. Priscilla Delzell didn’t return to her residence in North Barstow Irwin Estates on July 18 after her family reported she had left for a midday walk into the nearby desert. Delzell’s body would later be found in the desert near her residence.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's officials searched the home of Priscilla Delzell.

• The Fort Irwin community was left picking up water damage debris after a monsoon storm that lasted over an hour flooded the military training center. Several roads were littered with mud and debris, some even completely washed out, forcing the roads to remain closed.


• The family of Priscilla Delzell said it hired an attorney.

• More than 450 people attended the Seventh Anniversary Celebration of Healthy Woman, a program of Barstow Community Hospital, as abduction survivor Elizabeth Smart talked about her story. The Utah native was kidnapped in 2002 and rescued nine months later.

• Rolling Stone Magazine ran an article online that put a spotlight on the Barstow music scene. The magazine’s article, “Bands to Watch from Barstow,” comes amid the ongoing nine-city Station to Station Tour. The tour would later stop in Barstow and connect “creators in the worlds of art, music, food, literature and film for a series of cultural interventions and site-specific happenings,” according to its website.

• A major music and art tour stopped in Barstow at the Skyline Drive-In, featuring big name artists such as Beck. The Station to Station concert quickly sold out, with 1,000 tickets sold.

• Former Marine and Navajo Code Talker Nelson Draper Sr. died at age 96 in his Barstow home. During World War II, the code talkers were pivotal to the Marine Corps’ success against the Japanese in Iwo Jima and Okinawa, using their native Navajo language to provide critical communications in a code that was virtually impossible to crack. Not many of the roughly 400 code talkers remain; some estimate between 25 to 60 are alive.

• The skeletal remains of a Barstow man charged with the strangling death of his mother, a beloved grocery clerk, may have been found in a desert area near Irwin Road. Desi Woods was charged with his mother’s murder two months after Irene Camacho, 68, was found dead in her Piute Street home on Sept. 26, 2010. Police say she had been strangled.

• The stands were packed in Yermo for the 25th Barstow Rodeo Stampede and ghost town streets were equally full for Calico Days. Rodeo organizers also honored Barstow Police Chief Albert Ramirez, retired police officer John Cordero and Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Nicholas Berbeniss for having been wounded in the line of duty.


• While working at the Holiday Inn Express, Bibi Boucher pulled an unconscious man from a burning truck. Authorities said if Boucher wouldn’t have acted and pulled Rocky Valenzuela from the truck, he could have potentially burned to death. Weeks after the incident, Valenzuela met Boucher under safer conditions.

• Curtis Delzell, the brother-in-law of Priscilla Delzell, was arrested after authorities said he interfered with a second search warrant being served at her home.

• The Barstow Senior Center was awarded the contract to operate the cash-strapped Hi Desert Meals on Wheels program throughout the High Desert.

• Skype enabled home-ridden Caleb Lucas, a 6-year-old boy born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a serious and rare congenital heart condition, to engage in lessons taught inside a Cameron Elementary School classroom.

• Jeff Eason Sr., the president of the Barstow Senior Center, was placed on administrative leave after BPD received a tip that Eason had taken property and cash from the Senior Center, including $3,000 from a bingo fund, a refrigerator, washer and dryer.

• Nearly three months after going missing, Priscilla Delzell’s body was found in the desert by a mountain biker, about 200 feet east of Irwin Road and roughly one mile north of Old Highway 58.

• Sergio Munoz shot two people, killing one at a residence in Ridgecrest, before putting two more people into the trunk of his car and leading authorities on a high-speed chase that ended with his death in a shootout with police near Kramer Junction.


• California’s first public-accessible Dunkin’ Donuts opened at Barstow Station. The opening marked the beginning of a major run by the coffee-anddonut chain, popular on the East Coast for decades, to expand on the west coast.

• The city of Barstow unveiled approximately 180 banners honoring local military personnel throughout the city’s streets.

• An elderly man, previously convicted of a misdemeanor charge of making criminal threats in 1998, was arrested after barricading himself in his home for nearly six hours following a violent argument with his neighbor. Oren Stracner, 70, reportedly threatened to kill a neighbor over money, as well as additional people near his residence on the 600 block of East Rimrock Road.

• The nationally-televised football pre-game show “FOX NFL Sunday” broadcasted several live segments from Fort Irwin and the National Training Center on Thanksgiving Day.

• USA Today named Barstow Station the busiest rest stop in the West for Thanksgiving travel. The newspaper used data from the mobile application Foursquare to compile a list of the busiest rest stops in the country based on the volume of check-ins last year from Nov. 20 through 25.

• Days after a report by the Army Times that a legally married female couple was denied participation in a marriage enrichment program at Fort Irwin, officials responded to the alleged discrimination, stating that the Army post is working to accommodate same-sex couples.


• Robert Ruiz, 26, was fatally struck by a vehicle on Interstate 15, minutes after his birthday.

• Calvin Bottum, an 87-year-old Coalinga resident, succumbed to injuries four days after being struck by a vehicle as he was walking across the road in the 1500 block of Main Street.

• Steven Dondero was arrested in Long Beach for the 1995 murders of Barstow residents Mark Adamson and Joseph Riley. Dondero, the nephew of James Franklin who was ordered to stand trial, pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and a charge of conspiracy. Franklin had been serving a life sentence without parole at Centinela State Prison for an unrelated homicide when he was charged in November 2012 with the murders.

• The Spanish Trail Specific Plan, which will develop 112 acres and include an 801,100-square-foot shopping center, was approved by a unanimous 5-0 vote by the Barstow City Council at a special joint meeting.

• A 42-year-old man was arrested in connection with an 18-year-old cold case. Fernando Leo Trujillo was arrested by deputies from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department as a suspect in the 1995 murder of Barstow resident Dwayne Askew and participation in a criminal street gang.

• Days after being reinstated as the president of the Barstow Senior Center, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office charged Jeff Eason Sr. with embezzlement. Eason was placed on administrative leave in October after BPD received a tip that Eason had taken property and cash from the Senior Center, including $3,000 from a bingo fund, a refrigerator and a washer-dryer.

• A former employee of Desert Manna filed a petition claiming she had been harassed and threatened, but President and CEO Darrin Fikstad argued it was a matter of a disgruntled employee.

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