Stay-at-home orders that would affect the Morongo Basin could start Sunday. Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order for California is based on the percentage of intensive care beds that are in use. According to the order, a region must have at least 15 percent of its ICU beds available in order for the region’s businesses to stay open. San Bernardino County is in the southern California region, and as of Friday evening, the region’s ICU availability was at 13 percent. This means that if the percentage doesn’t improve Saturday, barbershops and hair salons must close Sunday, restaurants will be limited to take-out and delivery only, and capacity inside retail stores and shopping centers will be maxed at 20 percent. Todd Burke, a spokesman for Tenant Healthcare, which runs Hi-Desert Medical Center, says the hospital in Joshua Tree has four ICU beds. Burke said they were all occupied as of Friday, although only one bed was in use by a COVID patient. He stressed the hospital has the capability to increase its number of ICU beds, if necessary, and provide the same ICU-level of care in other beds if needed.
In a lengthy vehicle theft saga, two Twentynine Palms residents were arrested, accused of stealing a car and then assaulting the owner. On Tuesday, the victim reported that his 2009 BMW had been stolen that morning. He said he took a nap at a home in the 6400 block of Ocotillo Avenue in Twentynine Palms, and when he woke up, the keys and his car were gone. Wednesday, the victim called deputies to report that the suspected thieves, Bradley Scoville, 24, and Misty Dawn Grasty, 22, had returned. He said Scoville returned the keys—but not the car—and when the victim tried to block the door and demanded that Scoville tell him where he left his car, Scoville punched him in the head 10 times, and Grasty hit him in the head twice with a frying pan. They then fled the scene. During an area check, the deputy and the victim found the suspects, but not the car. The deputy’s report states Scoville stole the BMW from the victim and parked it, and then Grasty drove the car to a new location and parked it. Bradley Scoville and MistyDawn Grasty were arrested for investigation of vehicle theft, conspiracy, possession of a stolen vehicle, and assault. Scoville also had numerous arrest warrants for possession of stolen property, vehicle theft, and hit-and-run. Their bail was set at $100,000 each. On the ride to the Morongo Basin Jail, the deputy found the stolen vehicle.
A Lancaster convicted felon was arrested during a traffic stop in Yucca Valley after a deputy found a loaded pistol in his car. About 11 p.m. Saturday, November 28, a deputy made a traffic stop on a car driven by Melvin Washington, 48, near Old Woman Springs Road and San Juan Road. Washington had an active warrant for his arrest and is also a convicted felon. The deputy saw a loaded firearm on the passenger front seat. Melvin Washington was arrested for investigation of being a felon in possession of a firearm and was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $75,000.
Off-road vehicles are not allowed on any county service area roads and can only be ridden on private property with the written permission of the property owner. But there are areas nearby where you can legally ride your ORV. Hilary Sloane reminds residents to ride responsibly…
The Sheriff’s Department reminds residents that the operation of off-highway vehicles is regulated. County Ordinances say groups of 10 or more OHV users must obtain a “Staging Permit” from Code Enforcement. The use of OHVs on private property requires written permission. Open OHV riding is permitted in the Bureau of Land Management or BLM managed Johnson Valley OHV recreation area, 20 miles north of Yucca Valley on Highway 247 at Boone Road. OHV use is also allowed on several BLM designated routes throughout the Morongo Basin. Locations of these routes and use restrictions can be found on the BLM’s website at BLM.gov under the Barstow Field Office area.
Two people were arrested, and two people were cited and released, after they were found with drugs at an abandoned home in Yucca Valley. About 7 a.m. Wednesday, deputies went to a home in the 58800 block of Natoma Avenue in Yucca Valley. There they found Robert Reynolds, 40, of Bakersfield; Sydney Womer, 25, of Yucca Valley; David Vasquez, 47, of Joshua Tree; and Elizabeth Stahl, 40, of Joshua Tree. The deputies found methamphetamine in the mail, as well as meth and heroin in the home and evidence of identity theft. The home had been red-tagged by the Town of Yucca Valley, and no one was supposed to be inside the house. Robert Reynolds was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sales, and Sydney Womer was arrested on several out-of-county warrants and for investigation of transportation of methamphetamine for sales. They were booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with their bail set at $50,000 each. David Vasquez and Elizabeth Stahl were arrested on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia, cited, and released.