2006-06-16 / Front Page

Car salesman taken for frightening ride

By Kyle Jorrey

Two Ventura County residents have been arrested after they allegedly took a Simi Valley car salesman for an impromptu joy ride at 100 mph-plus on city streets.

Jason Bulko, 20, a resident of Westlake Village, and Travis Childress, 19, of Newbury Park were booked Tuesday in the Ventura County Jail on carjacking and kidnapping charges.

Bulko, the driver of the vehicle, has also been charged with reckless driving. They were scheduled to appear in court yesterday.

According to police reports, Bulko and Childress walked into the First Kia auto dealership on Front Street at around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and asked to test drive a 2004 Mazda RX-8.

During the test drive, authorities said, Bulko accelerated the small performance car to speeds in excess of 100 mph on surface streets and refused to pull over to allow the frightened salesperson to leave the vehicle.

The salesman, whose name has not been released, aided in his own escape by persuading the two men to pull over the car so he could use the restroom, according to Lt. John McGinty of the Simi Valley Police Department.

"He was finally able to convince them that he had to use the facilities," McGinty said. "So they pulled over and let him out."

McGinty said the quick-thinking salesman proceeded door-todoor until he found someone to allow him to use the phone to call the police.

When Bulko and Childress discovered the salesman's plan, they abandoned the vehicle and tried to esabandoned the vehicle and tried to escape on foot. They were picked up by Simi Valley police officers a block and a half away in the area of Madera and Wood Ranch.

The Mazda was discovered and returned to First Kia with minor damage to the interior of the car.

Childress was convicted in May 2005 of multiple charges including DUI causing injury after he crashed a stolen van into another vehicle while trying to evade Thousand Oaks police. Childress, who was the only one injured in the collision, was sentenced to 300 days in jail. He is currently on probation for that crime.

Bulko is a 2004 graduate of Westlake High School.

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