An arrest made early Monday morning took a reckless driver off the campus roads and brought a UCSB professor’s car back to its rightful owner.
At approximately 12:20 a.m. Monday, UC Police Dept. officers stopped a vehicle they had seen driving recklessly through campus as it sped eastbound onto Highway 217 near Sandspit Road. Police found two occupants in the vehicle, Lompoc resident Scott Clelland, 21, and Oxnard resident Jean Uriarte, also 21. When police questioned Clelland, the driver of the vehicle, Clelland claimed that he was en route to the hospital because his father had had a stroke, UCPD Officer Mark Signa said.
When officers attempted to verify the information Clelland had given them, they found that the information was not true. They also found that the vehicle was registered to Ernest Sturm, a professor of French at UCSB and a Santa Barbara resident. Santa Barbara police contacted Sturm, who confirmed that his vehicle had been stolen from his residence, though he was unaware of the theft before the police had called him, UCPD Officer Rob Romero said.
Officers conducted a DUI investigation and found that Clelland was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. After searching the vehicle, officers also found marijuana in Clelland’s possession. Police arrested Clelland and Uriarte and booked them into Santa Barbara County Jail for the felony charge of auto theft. Clelland was also charged with misdemeanor counts of reckless driving, driving under the influence, providing false information to a police officer and possession of marijuana.
The stolen vehicle was seized by police and later released to Sturm, who could not be reached for comment.