Off-duty LAPD officer crashes into McDonald’s Restaurant in Diamond Bar

An off-duty Los Angeles police officer was arrested Friday for allegedly driving drunk after he crashed a car into the drive-through area of a McDonald’s near the 60 Freeway.

California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said Jonathan Chel, 29, of Fullerton, was cited on suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence and released to his department.

Chel couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. The solo crash was reported at 1:15 a.m.

Jimenez said the officer was driving a Mazda 3 eastbound on the 60 Freeway and took the off-ramp to Brea Canyon Road. It crashed off the roadway and traveled across an approximately 50-foot area separating the off-ramp from the drive-through area of the restaurant, Jimenez said.

He said Chel didn’t have a passenger.

Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Thomas Richards said firefighters responded to a call of a traffic collision with a person trapped at 1:18 a.m. But no extrication was needed, he added.

Chel was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center and treated for injuries the CHP described as moderate. Jimenez didn’t know Chel’s specific injuries.

LAPD officials said the department isn’t releasing any information about the officer at this time.

“We’re allowing the CHP to conduct an investigation and we are not involved in it,” LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery said.



He didn’t know if Chel was placed on leave.

“All we’re confirming is he was off duty because the CHP is spearheading the investigation,” LAPD Officer Luis Garcia said.

Garcia said they haven’t had contact with Chel yet.

Peter Horner, who is the owner of the McDonald’s where the officer ended up, said in statement that the restaurant wasn’t damaged but a fence around the property sustained some damage.

Diamond Bar man found dead in garage

A 56 -year-old man was found dead in his Diamond Bar garage early Monday morning. Detectives don’t suspect foul play.

Lt. Dave Dolson of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said they are certain the death is either accidental or a natural death. He said the resident was a cancer survivor, had had a couple of strokes and took medication for high blood pressure.

Dolson said relatives coming back from a trip discovered the man in the garage of his home in the 800 block of Adamsgrove Avenue.

Los Angeles County firefighters responded to a 9-1-1 call about a cardiac arrest at the location at 2:25 a.m., according to Inspector Anthony Akins.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Coroner’s officials haven’t released the man’s name yet. They were still at the home as of 11 a.m.

California Transportation Commission OKs $48 million for Puente Ave. railroad underpass

The California Transportation Commission voted Friday  to allocate $48 million in state transportation bond funds to the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (ACE) to construct a roadway underpass and railroad bridge at the congested and hazardous rail crossing on Puente Avenue/Workman Mill Road in the City of Industry. The funding will permit ACE to advertise and award a construction contract this summer for the $99.019 million project.

“The Puente Avenue grade separation project will eliminate collisions, traffic congestion, vehicle emissions and train horns at the crossing and we look forward to starting the project with today’s vote of support from the California Transportation Commission,” said El Monte Mayor Pro Tem Norma Macias, Chair of the ACE Board of Directors.

The construction funds were allocated from the state Proposition 1B Trade Corridor Improvement Fund. Workers will build a roadway underpass for Puente Avenue, a double-track bridge for Union Pacific trains and a bridge for Valley Boulevard as well as a new loop connector road between Puente Avenue and Valley Boulevard.

The project will eliminate the Puente Avenue railroad crossing, which accommodates 31,110 vehicles per day and where an average of 20 trains per day block traffic for 31.5 vehicle-hours of daily delay in 2010, projected to increase to 87.8 vehicle-hours of daily delay by 2035. The project will eliminate collisions between vehicles and trains, with five collisions recorded over the past 10 years, and will generate 1,766 full-time equivalent jobs.

The project is part of the ACE program of constructing 22 rail-highway grade separations in the San Gabriel Valley along the freight rail mainlines carrying goods to and from the San Pedro Bay ports. The ports are the nation’s busiest, handling 44 percent of the country’s containerized imports, 90 percent of California’s imports and 75 percent of its exports. Nearly 60 percent of the containers travel inland along the Alameda Corridor-East Trade Corridor to destinations across the country.

U.S. Transportation Secretary to visit Nogales St. project on Friday

Artist rendering of the new Nogales Street railroad underpass.

Artist rendering of the new Nogales Street railroad underpass.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will join U.S. Representatives Grace Napolitano and Ed Royce, and members of the Alameda Corridor-East (ACE) Construction Authority to visit the Nogales Street highway-rail grade separation project on Friday morning.

The busy boulevard will close to traffic at 6 a.m. Saturday for a two-year project to separate the road from the railroad grade. Once completed, the roadway underpass and railroad bridge will eliminate collisions, delays for emergency
responders and train horn noise and reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.

Secretary Foxx will also tour the nearby confluence of State Routes 60 and 57 for a briefing on improvement plans.

Walnut council candidate Betty Tang fights rumors and false accusations


WHO: Betty Tang, Candidate for Walnut City Council.

WHEN: 11:00 AM Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WHERE: Betty Tang Campaign Headquarters
20837 Valley Blvd., Walnut CA 91789

CONTACT: Samuel Liu
(310) 989-3858

Candidate for Walnut City Council and first time challenger Betty Tang
will confront and address the vicious rumors and lies being spread through anonymous e-mails and news blogs. Betty Tang will address the plethora of rumors in a press conference at her campaign office located at 20837 Valley Blvd. Walnut, CA 91789.

Hero helps man cross Hacienda Boulevard in heavy traffic

Every day hero helps man cross the street.

Every day hero helps man cross the street.

By Pedro Garcia

Coming to work this morning I witnessed something special … I saw a HERO in action!

No, it wasn’t a police officer or a firemen or even paramedic. They do heroic acts every day. This time it was a regular everyday person.

While waiting for a traffic signal to turn green on the corner of Amar and Hacienda Boulevard in La Puente ( I was driving west bound on Amar) a gentleman started to walk cross Hacienda with difficulty.

As soon as he stepped into the crosswalk,  a driver in a white plumbing truck going south on Hacienda turned on his hazard lights, then jumped out of his vehicle. He helped the man crossing the street, holding his arm and walking him all the way across the street. Then the truck driver make sure the man was OK before he went back to his truck.

The driver took the time to help this person in need, with no expectation other than to give somebody a hand.  Now that’s a hero!

Helpful Honda Guys helps Inland Valley Humane Society on Saturday

Help homeless animals find two-legged friends and a place to call home, the Helpful Honda Guys in Blue will be hosting a Helpful Honda Pet Adoption with Inland Valley Humane Society & S.P.C.A. this St. Pawtrick’s Saturday, March 15.

Join them from 11 am to 2 pm as they kick off the Inland Valley Humane Society’s 100 DAY ADOPTION CHALLENGE with a goal to adopt 1,000 animals in 100 days.

The Helpful Guys in Blue will help you find your new best friend and provide complimentary leashes and collars, face painting, other fun goodies at 500 Humane Way in Pomona.

The Helpful Honda Guys are excited to host a series of Helpful Pet Adoption events with local shelters and rescue partners all throughout March Pet Adoption Month as just another way to be helpful and will be making donations to each partner. Events can be found on Facebook/SoCalHondaDealers event page.

Canadian developer plans hotel for Rowland property

A Canadian developer is proposing a new 250-room hotel for the old John Rowland property on Gale Avenue. The Parallax Investment Corporation of Toronto will also add 100,000 square feet of retail space, with 30 percent dedicated to restaurants.

“We met with the developer and architect a couple weeks ago to go over their proposal,” explained Ted Ebenkamp, president of the Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council.

Ebenkamp said architect Ken Smith will discuss the major development at Monday night’s council meeting.

“They want to get a feeling for the community’s support for such a project,” the civic officer said.

Ebenkamp said the new four-star hotel would occupy 5.5 acres of the 14-acre parcel. The lot just west of Nogales Street has been vacant for many years.
“One developer had plans for a shopping center, but they went bankrupt before they could build there,” Ebenkamp said.

Smith said the hotel will have five or six stories. The representative from Architects Orange pointed out that the hotel will include underground parking.
The Orange County architect wouldn’t say how much the project would cost.

But construction can’t begin for a couple years, while contractors close Nogales Street to build the new railroad underpass.
“An temporary access road is being built on the Rowland property to divert traffic from Nogales, which closes on March 22,” Ebenkamp noted.

The City of Industry joined Los Angeles County and a public construction agency for the $100 million project to widen Gale Avenue and Walnut Drive and build a railroad underpass at Nogales Street.

The project is one many grade separation in the San Gabriel Valley being built by the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (ACE) to alleviate traffic congestion at train crossings.

More than 50 trains cross Nogales Street daily. Officials have counted seven collisions between trains and vehicles at the busy intersection in the past decade.

ACE is the agency leading construction of the project. Nogales will be closed and the 42,680 cars that use it every day will be taken on a detour to the west.

“We had to do a detour. If we don’t do that detour, the impact on parallel streets – Fullerton Road to the west and Fairway to the east – would be substantial,” said ACE’s Executive Director Rick Richmond in an earlier interview.

While the project involved ACE buying almost 40 pieces of land, most of the takes were small parts of properties, Richmond said. Only two complete properties were bought: a closed gas station and a vacant construction warehouse.

The warehouse was taken to make room for ACE to move a major sewer trunk line, Richmond said.

Money for the $96.7 million project is coming from federal transportation funds, Industry, state transportation funds and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
— Ben Baeder contributed to this story.

Diamond Bar wrong-way DUI crash suspect makes court appearance

By Melissa Pinion-Whitt, The Sun

Sheriff’s deputies wheeled Olivia Carolee Culbreath on a gurney into a courtroom Monday in what was her first court appearance on the Diamond Bar drunken-driving crash that killed six people in February.

Culbreath, 21, of Fontana wore hospital garb and said little during the very brief hearing before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jack P. Hunt. Her arraignment was postponed until March 26 so attorneys could gather evidence.

“We have not received discovery in this case,” said Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender Roger Whitenhill.

Culbreath had been hospitalized with serious injuries since the Feb. 9 wrong-way crash on the 60 Freeway. She was transferred to Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles earlier this month, but had not appeared in court until Monday.

Assistant Head Deputy John Monaghan of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined comment on the case.

Culbreath has been charged with six counts of murder in the deaths of Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47, Leticia Ibarra, 42, Jessica Jasmine Mejia, 20, and Ester Delgado, all of Huntington Park; Kristin Melissa Young, 21, of Chino; and Maya Louise Culbreath, 24, of Rialto.