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Bad Gas Leaves Motorists Stranded

Carlos Rodriguez



MODESTO – Several motorists were left with disabled vehicles Tuesday night after pumping gas at a local gas station.

Emily Gomes said she pumped gas in her vehicle at the Arco at the intersection of Coffee Road and Orangeburg Avenue at about 8:15pm. After finishing, her vehicle died as she drove out of the station.

While waiting for a tow truck, she noticed another customer who pumped gas also suffered the same problem. Gomes said he didn’t even make it out of the lot.

In the time spent waiting there, Gomes said at least eight or more people came to the station with the same problem. During a phone call Wednesday, she said they began to warn other customers who were arriving to pump gas about what was happening. They urged the attendant to shut the pumps off, who did so about an hour later she said.

About a dozen or so customers returned the next day to speak to a manager about what to do. Gomes said her car still wouldn’t start, and she would have to have it examined.

A truck was at the service station Wednesday morning pumping out the fuel tanks. A man in a safety vest directed people to a flyer inside of the station. He confirmed the truck was there to pump out the fuel tanks.

The source of the problem was unclear, but Gomes believed the gas was contaminated, and that there were other Arco locations affected as well. At least one other Arco station had their pumps taped off Wednesday, this one on Crows Landing Road.

Gomes described the entire incident as an inconvenience, and expressed her frustrations over the incident.

So what happens if you or someone you know was affected by the gas? Here is a list of what you need to put together:

  1. A written statement of the incident. (Must include product purchased and date of purchase/timeline of general events, etc.)
  2. Proof of BP branded fuel purchase. Fuel receipt or credit card statement that includes dollar amount spent.
  3. Itemized mechanic’s repair invoice.
  4. A towing receipt, taxi receipt, rental car receipt of applicable.

Anyone affected who would like to initiate a claim process can contact BP at 1-800-333-3991.

Carlos Rodriguez is an Emmy Award winning photojournalist specializing in public safety and natural disasters. His passion for local news stems from a deep commitment to his community, with a selfless mission to inform the citizens of the valley. As he worked on assignment for 19 days at the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, California, he spent most of his time helping survivors contact their loved ones to let them know they were ok. Carlos is a veteran of Univision, FOX, and Telemundo TV stations and a native of Modesto, California.

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Family Seeks Justice in Strawberry Fields Park Murder

Gaby Muro



Police cars block Malik Avenue during a shooting investigation on January 11th, 2021.

CERES – A 17 year old boy was charged in the January murder of Miguel Angel Peña of Ceres, who was shot at Strawberry Fields Park and died days later at a hospital.

“I have questions of why,” Fabiola said. Her family could not make any sense of why anyone would do something like this to her brother Sebastián as he was known by his loved ones.

“I think we were full of frustration,” she added. “We have no answers and we wanted to know what was going on.”

Sebastián’s loss is a further blow to her family since the loss of her mother Lupita, who passed away only a couple months prior from cancer. The loss of both of their loved ones have left her relatives in deep depression and uncontrollable anxiety.

“He didn’t just hurt someone,” Fabiola said of the accused. “He hurt a whole family, friends and others.”

Fabiola described her brother as hard working and family oriented. Often working throughout the day with her father or brother. Together they worked in landscaping yards, power washing, or construction jobs.

“What I’m going to miss the most is his caringness,” Fabiola said of her brother. “He always did more for everyone else than he did for himself, and he would always put other people before himself.”

Fabiola said her family has found peace in the thought that her brother and mother are together, and that her family is now focusing on finding justice for Sebastián. They understand the road is long with an expected court case, and are looking forward to being advocates for her brother.

“Me and my other four siblings will speak on behalf of Sebastián, and make sure he gets the justice that he deserves.”

Asuzena Peña, another of Sebastián’s sisters, added that they are glad the suspect turned himself in, but are looking forward to justice being served.

She said her family won’t be satisfied and won’t rest “Until he is trialed and imprisoned for life.” They don’t want another killing they described as ruthless and without thinking.

One day at a time, one step at a time is how the Peña family describes how they will proceed. Through family and through their faith.

“God’s timing is perfect,” Fabiola explained. “It was about to be three months since this happened, and we got a sign. Hopefully this helps, and everything moves faster.”

The arrest happened Wednesday, according to a press release by the Ceres Police Department. The suspect, who according to authorities turned himself in, was booked into Juvenile Hall and faces charges including murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and robbery.

Because he is only 17, the suspect’s identity was not released. Police did say he was from Modesto, however and that the investigation is ongoing.

The shooting originally occurred on January 11th near the area of Malik Avenue and Hackett Road. Sebastián was struck by gunfire along with another passenger he was with in a vehicle. The bullets were fired from a passing car, and struck several neighboring homes. A second round of gunshots were fired as the vehicle drove off. The incident was captured on several home surveillance cameras.

Sebastián was taken home and dropped off by those he was with. He was found by his loved ones, suffering from his injuries in the front yard. Police and medics responded and he was taken to a hospital where he fought for his life, but he died a few days later.

The incident has left Sebastián’s family shattered, a feeling that his sister Fabiola described Thursday afternoon after receiving word that someone was finally being held accountable.

Sebastián was 18 when his life was taken. He is survived by his father Javier, and siblings Javier Jr, Goretty, Jonathan, Asuzena and Fabiola.

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Teen Shot, Crashes into Residence

Carlos Rodriguez



STOCKTON – A 14 year old boy was taken to the hospital after being shot Wednesday afternoon.

At about 1:33pm officers responded to the 8500 block of Acapulco Way for a report of a person shot. Authorities said the victim was driving in the area when two suspects approached on foot and shot at him.

The victim was hit and drove off, colliding into the yard of a nearby residence. He was taken to a hospital to be treated. Police said the victim was expected to survive.

No motive was available, but police believe the suspects to be two black male juveniles. No further description was released.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Two People Reported Shot, Police Investigate

Carlos Rodriguez



STOCKTON – Police responded to a report of two people shot early Monday evening.

The incident was reported shortly before 7:00pm near the intersection of East 8th and Anne Streets. Early reports indicated two people were struck by gunfire.

Responding officers were unable to locate victims in the area, they had apparently transported to a hospital via private vehicle.

Anyone with information regarding this case can contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600 where callers can remain anonymous.

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