News briefs

Pit bull-mix dogs attack Fresno Co. postal carrier

A 36-year-old U.S. Postal Service mail carrier suffered bites on her right arm and shoulder when she was attacked by four dogs Monday in the Mayfair area, Fresno County sheriff's deputies reported Tuesday.

The woman, whose name was not made public, was treated at Community Regional Medical Center and released, sheriff's spokesman Chris Curtice said.

The incident was reported shortly before 4 p.m. at Eleventh Street and Kenmore Drive North when a witness telephoned 911 saying a mail carrier was being attacked by dogs, Curtice said.

The victim told investigators she was walking to her truck when she heard barking dogs. When she turned around, she was surrounded by four pit bull-mix dogs. The dogs cornered her against her truck and started biting the mail she was holding before they knocked her down when she tried to get away.

Once she was on the ground, two of the dogs bit her right arm and started shaking her, while another dog bit her shoulder and the fourth one attempted to bite her leg.

Neighborhood residents chased the dogs away with sticks. Three of the dogs were caught later, while a fourth got away.

Curtice said the owner of dogs was cited on a county ordinance pertaining to vicious dogs. The dogs were turned over to SPCA officials.

Murder suspect arrested after failing to buckle up

Failure to buckle up landed a wanted Northern California murder suspect in jail, Fresno police reported Tuesday.

The arrest was made Monday afternoon when officers stopped a car at Hughes and Dakota avenues in west-central Fresno after they noticed a rear-seat passenger did not have his seat belt on, officers said.

Police said the passenger gave officers a phony name, but after further checking he was identified as Roberto Ramos, 20, of Martinez, who was wanted on a warrant out of Concord charging him with murder, home invasion and robbery.

Ramos was booked into Fresno County jail, where he will be held until Concord authorities make arrangements to pick him up, police said.

Visalia teen injured jumping from vehicle

A 16-year-old Visalia boy suffered major head injuries when he reportedly jumped out of a moving vehicle early Tuesday in Visalia, police reported.

The boy, whose name was not made public, was flown to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno where he had surgery, officers said. His condition was not known.

The incident was reported at 1:46 a.m. on Ferguson Street in north Visalia. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Danny Seelapasy, 18, of Visalia.

Pot garden, 1,130 plants destroyed in Madera Co.

Led by a SWAT team, Madera County sheriff's narcotics officers and members of the state Department of Fish & Game on Tuesday eradicated a marijuana garden found growing on private property near Raymond.

Erica Stuart, a sheriff's spokeswoman, said 1,130 plants were destroyed. Had the plants been processed for sales, they would have yielded more than $3 million, she said.

In this case, she said, the property owner reported coming face-to-face with the marijuana growers, who reportedly were seen carrying firearms.

With this in mind, Sheriff John Anderson issued a warning to the public to be aware of the risk of encountering armed marijuana traffickers and to report any suspicious activity. The number to call is a 24-hour tip line, (559) 675-7776.


Grease fire hits Fresno hamburger restaurant

Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers restaurant at 4919 E. McKinley Ave. in east-central Fresno was shut down after a stove-top grease fire Tuesday morning, Fresno Fire Department investigators said.

Firefighters put out the flames and only minor damage was reported. The restaurant, however, was shut down until county health officials could examine the food for damage and also to make sure certain safety equipment was in working order, said Chuck Tobias, a battalion chief.

Yolanda Cuevas, manager of the restaurant, said Tuesday afternoon it was still not known whether the restaurant would reopen today.

The fire was reported at 9:11 a.m. No injuries were reported.

Food left unattended on a stove was blamed for another kitchen fire shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday at 3179 N. Burl Ave. in east Fresno. Although in the city of Fresno, Clovis Fire Department firefighters were the first to respond to the incident.

Only minor damage was reported.


Fresno author files suit, says he was run off road

Fresno journalist and author Mark Arax has filed a lawsuit that says he was run off the road by an enraged motorist who later got out of his car and struck him in the shoulder.

The lawsuit, which was filed Monday in Fresno County Superior Court, says Arax was driving somewhere on Browning Avenue in north Fresno on April 15 when another motorist turned his vehicle into Arax's vehicle and forced Arax to veer off the road, jump a curb and strike some bushes. The man then approached Arax and swung at his head, hitting his shoulder, the lawsuit states.

Porterville man gets prison in manslaughter

An array of criminal charges from a fatal accident last fall is sending a Porterville man to prison for more than 18 years.

Joshua David Jones, 18, was sentenced Monday in Tulare County Superior Court for gross vehicular manslaughter, burglary, driving under the influence causing great bodily injury and other charges, said Supervising Deputy District Attorney David Alavezos.

Jones was the driver in a crash that killed a 17-year-old passenger, Heaven Patterson, on Sept. 16, 2007.

Alavezos said Jones initially was charged with murder in the case, but that charge was reduced to vehicular manslaughter in exchange for a plea to avoid trial. Because two of the charges count as violent felony "strikes" under California's "Three Strikes" sentencing law, Alavezos said, Jones will have to serve 15 years and seven months in prison before he is eligible for parole.