updated: Oct 15, 2012, 3:58 PM
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. When contacted by officers at
the front door of his residence Beniak released a canine upon them, which bit
one of the officers on the hand as he backed away.
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.
Photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.
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