Santa Barbara – At dusk on August 1, 2012, a 67-year-old driver made a legal right turn at a downtown intersection and was suddenly confronted by Matthew Rene Brown, 28, who angrily and aggressively accused the driver of running into him while he was a pedestrian crossing the street. According to Santa Barbara Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Riley Harwood, Brown also accused the driver of “hit-and-run because he didn’t stop immediately after the alleged accident.”
Brown, much larger in physical stature than the driver, reportedly used blasphemous and threatening language and, as described by Harwood in his report to the media, “caused the victim to be fearful for his safety.” At the scene, the victim did not admit fault, responding to Brown that he didn’t agree that there had been any accident or contact with his vehicle. At Brown’s insistence, he and the victim exchanged ID information.
The following day, Brown made personal contact with the driver and demanded $5,000 cash for his damages in order to “avoid getting the police or insurance involved,” Harwood reported, indicating that he would press charges for hit-and-run and that the driver would go to jail for the crime.
Brown’s victim—in spite of being a senior citizen—was not cowed or intimidated, and reported Brown’s allegations and threats to Santa Barbara Police. At that time, Traffic Collision Investigator Officer Jaycee Hunter became involved and quickly determined that Brown was on parole for felony fraud and check forgery. Hunter acquired a $50,000 arrest warrant on charges of attempted extortion and elder abuse.
Hunter, with support from additional SBPD officers and detectives, served the warrant on Brown at his residence where Brown was taken into custody and Alexis Janelle Flores, 25, was observed to be under the influence of controlled substances and in possession of narcotics paraphernalia within easy reach of her 3-year-old son. At that time, Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services facilitated the removal of the child and placement into the custody of other family members.
Brown was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of extortion, elder abuse, and violation of parole pursuant to the arrest warrant, with bail set at $10,000.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara Police Department
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