SANTA BARBARA, CA – Santa Barbara Police say Stephen Glen Beniak, age 60, of Santa Barbara was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, felony DUI (three priors within ten years), resisting or delaying an officer, and driving on a suspended license after a neighbor saw him drive and then pass out behind the wheel of his car.
SBPD says when contacted by officers at the front door of his residence, Beniak released one of his dogs which bit one of the officers on the hand as he backed away.
Here's what SBPD released about the incident to Central Coast News:
On October 14, 2012 at 5:17 p.m., Santa Barbara Police Department Officers Allan Tuazon and Megan Harrison responded to a call of a subject passed out inside of a black Audi parked near the intersection of Lincoln Road and Hope Avenue. Upon arrival they located the suspect vehicle, which was unoccupied, and contacted two witnesses, the reporting party and an off-duty SBPD officer, both of whom are neighbors of the suspect, Beniak.
The investigation indicates the following. At approximately 5:00 p.m., the reporting party observed Beniak drive his car on Hope Avenue and then park across the street from his residence at 3801 Lincoln Road. The reporting party continued to her residence, however upon going back outside a few minutes later observed Beniak passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle. The reporting party called 911 and also contacted another neighbor, an off-duty SBPD officer. The off-duty officer walked to Beniak's location and also saw him passed out in his car. The officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol emanating from Beniak and suspected that he was intoxicated. The officer removed Beniak's keys from his vehicle's ignition, for Beniak's safety and that of others, and then backed away and waited for uniformed SBPD personnel to arrive. Prior to the arrival of on-duty officers Beniak woke and stumbled into his residence.
Officer Tuazon and Officer Harrison made contact with Beniak at the front door of his residence. Beniak initially spoke to the officers from behind his partially opened front door. Beniak was belligerent and refused repeated requests to secure his three dogs, which were with him inside of the residence and acting aggressively; and to step outside. Instead, Beniak opened his front door completely, stepped aside, and allowed one of his dogs, an approximately 90 to 100 pound bloodhound, to rush out of the residence toward Officer Tuazon. The dog bit Officer Tuazon on his right hand as he backed away, causing a puncture wound and laceration. Beniak then called the dog back into the residence, made a remark similar to, "I hope you got bit," and then closed the front door. The officers again instructed Beniak to step outside; however he informed them that he was not going to come out.
Several other officers responded along with a Patrol Supervisor, Sergeant Andy Feller. A perimeter was established around the residence and Sergeant Feller spoke to Beniak through a bedroom window. Sergeant Feller attempted for several minutes to convince Beniak to secure his dogs and to exit the residence, however Beniak refused. At 8:45 p.m. Officer Jaycee Hunter obtained an arrest warrant for Beniak for assault with a deadly weapon, felony DUI (three priors within ten years), resisting or delaying an officer, and driving on a suspended license; along with a search warrant for his residence. With the assistance of SBPD Animal Control Officer Jeff Deming, officers made entry into Beniak's residence and took him into custody at 9:15 p.m.
Beniak was transported to Santa Barbara County Jail where he submitted to a forced blood draw stemming from the DUI charge. He was booked at Jail on the aforementioned charges with a bail amount of $30,000.00.
Officer Tuazon's injury was treated at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital; he has returned to duty.
Beniak's wife, who was not present at the time of the incident, has been cooperative with the investigation. Her dogs have been released to her custody and the animal that bit Officer Tuazon has been placed on at-home quarantine. According to her, the dog has a history of biting.
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