Officers arrest suspected hit-and-run driver after he visits police station

Officers arrest driver after he visits police station

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara Police arrested 63-year-old Omar Turkell on Tuesday for a hit-and-run that occurred on De La Vina Street and Constance Avenue. 

The accident happened a week ago on August 17 around noon. It allegedly involved a scooter driver named Dominic Habibi and Turkell. 

Habibi was on his way to Our Daily Bread for breakfast when he says a man driving a silver Mercedes SUV was following him too close for comfort.

"The traffic started to slow down because there was a stop light right there and at that point he got up right on me very close," said Habibi, a hit-and-run victim.

According to Habibi, the SUV driver came right up to his side as he slowed down to find a parking spot. Habibi admits he did what he should not have done in that situation.

"I got agitated because of the tailgating and the stunt he just pulled off and I sped up down the street and got next to him. I knocked on his mirror and kind of said 'What the f are you doing?' That's when he took his vehicle and veered it into me," said Habibi.

Santa Barbara Police confirm surveillance footage from the area supports Habibi's version of events. 

Two days ago, Reporter Vicky Nguyen was at the Santa Barbara Police Department to cover a different story when the suspected hit-and-run driver, Omar Turkell, approached her. He explained he heard news coverage about the accident and that detectives were looking for an "older white male, with white hair and drove a silver Mercedes." Turkell told our reporter he was falsely accused and was planning on sharing his side of the story with detectives to clear his name.

Turkell was arrested for after he spoke to officers and was taken to Santa Barbara County Jail. He was booked on 3 charges including assault with a deadly weapon likely to produce great bodily injury and reckless driving. 

Habibi suffered injuries and damages to his scooter as a result. 

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