Diamond Bar toddler fights rare disease with experimental drug

Dr. Raymond Wang, a metabolic disorders specialist at Children's Hospital of Orange County

Dr. Raymond Wang, a metabolic disorders specialist at Children’s Hospital of Orange County

Parents will do anything for their children. But sometimes, they face staggering odds when a child becomes sick with cancer or another disease.

Galya, right, with her twin brother Ezra and father Brian Chan in their Diamond Bar Home.

Caris and Brian Chan of Diamond Bar tried to have children for 10 years. Finally, they got the wonderful news that they were expecting after a successful in vitro fertilization.

“Then the doctors noted another mass growing and discovered we were having twins,” Brian Chan recalled. “But the second baby always seemed a week behind in its development.”

Finally, the twins were born premature, a boy, Ezra, weighing 3 pounds while his sister, Galya, weighed only 2 pounds. Ezra grew hale and hearty, while Galya began ill with a unknown illness.

“She kept getting worse and worse, her liver became so enlarged that it looked like she was pregnant,” the software engineer remembered. “And Galya was yellow from severe jaundice.”

Thus began a medical mystery that took months of intensive care. Galya was taken to the UCLA Medical Center, where doctors performed a liver biopsy and began genetic testing.

“I remember riding with her in three ambulances over one 24-hour period,” Chan said.

Then, the 2-year-old was admitted to Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Genetic tests revealed a devastating rare condition called Niemann Pick C. The couple also learned there was no treatment for the disease.

“The diagnosis is horrible, but it’s better to know than to not know,” Chan said.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story GALYA

Driver gets 7 years in prison for DUI crash that injured Diamond Bar man

A Pomona Superior Court judge sentenced a Compton man to seven years in prison Friday for drunken driving which seriously injured a Diamond Bar man in a crash last year in the city.

Authorities said 18-year-old Steven Kim suffered internal injuries, broken bones, injuries to his spinal cord and brain. He is in a long-term care facility, according to Deputy District Attorney Lauren Guber.

Pierr Gonzalez-Garcia,22, didn’t make a plea deal with the prosecution.

Instead he threw himself on the mercy of the court and pleaded no contest Feb.  20 to a felony count of driving with a .08 percent blood alcohol level causing injury.

Sarah Ardalani, a spokeswoman with the District Attorney’s Office, said Gonzalez-Garcia also admitted to the allegations that he personally inflicted great bodily injury causing the victim to become comatose, that he was speeding and that the concentration of his blood alcohol was 0.15 percent by weight and more.

The court ordered him to pay restitution. The amount hasn’t been determined.

“We don’t have a number yet. The treatment is still ongoing,” Guber said.

Gonzalez-Garcia’s attorney, couldn’t be reached for comment on Friday afternoon.

The case stems from a collision on Pathfinder Road in Rowland Heights on Aug.  1, 2014.

Guber said Gonzalez-Garcia had a blood alcohol level that night of 0.21  percent and was driving his mother’s Nissan Pathfinder.

He allegedly told the California Highway Patrol he bought marijuana from someone at a corner, purchased vodka and a Monster energy drink at a liquor store in Long Beach and was on his way to a club in Hollywood, according to the prosecution. He was drinking the vodka and the energy drink, Guber said.

Kim left a church that night in a Toyota Scion. Guber said from Alexdale Lane, Kim made a left turn to Pathfinder Road.

The Scion had almost completed the turn when the speeding Nissan crashed into it.

Gonzalez-Garcia suffered a broken clavicle in the collision, Guber said. The two injured men were taken to a hospital.

Gonzalez-Garcia was later arrested.

The California Highway Patrol investigated the crash.

Heat wave eases its grip on the San Gabriel Valley

Giovanni Rodriguez and his sister Penelope, play in spray  at Morgan Park in Baldwin Park

Giovanni Rodriguez and his sister Penelope, play in spray at Morgan Park in Baldwin Park

Southland residents can breathe a sigh of relief as record high temperatures plummet nearly 20 degrees by Wednesday.

A cold front will roll through the Los Angeles basin, bringing cloudy skies and patchy fog overnight.

“The Santa Ana event ended on Sunday, returning us slowly to highs in the 70s,” reported National Weather Service Meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie in Oxnard. “There will even be a slight chance of precipitation on Wednesday, with a 20 percent chance of a few sprinkles in the mountains.”

Weather stations in Santa Fe Springs and La Puente reported a high of 94 on Sunday and temperatures dipped only a couple degrees on Monday before dropping another 10 degrees today, with an expected high of 80. By Wednesday afternoon, SoCal should register a very comfortable 73 degrees.

A similar trend will sooth Pasadena residents, who experienced a high of 90 Monday. That will be followed by 80 today and 73 on Wednesday.

While no records were broken in the San Gabriel Valley/Whittier area over the weekend, Sunday saw a number of them fall throughout Southern California. The National Weather Service recorded a high of 92 in downtown Los Angeles, crushing the record of 85 set in 1978.

“Burbank also set a record at Bob Hope Airport at 90 degrees, breaking the 86 mark set in 1994,” Hoxsie said.

Los Angeles International Airport reported a new high of 88, breaking the 1959 record of 83.

A record high of 89 degrees was set at UCLA Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, surpassing the previous high of 87, set in 2010.

The NWS forecast calls for a much more pleasant weekend ahead, with highs around 75 under mostly sunny skies. Overnight lows will hover near 57 under partly cloudy skies.

Hoxsie said the marine layer should return, cooling coastal areas that have baked in the record heat. It was 92 at Long Beach Airport on Sunday, breaking the record of 86 from 1978. Highs in Long Beach will drop from 82 on Monday to 66 on Wednesday.

Haggen taking over Vons in Diamond Bar

A shopper loads his trunk with groceries at parking lot of Vons supermarket in Diamond Bar

A shopper loads his trunk with groceries at parking lot of Vons supermarket in Diamond Bar

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer

The name Haggen might not ring a bell with Southland consumers now. But it soon will because the Bellingham, Wash. -based supermarket chain is about to open 83 California locations in stores that have been operating as either Albertsons or Vons.

Haggen Inc.’s entry into the California grocery industry came about through the merger of Albertsons and Safeway. Cerberus Capital Management, the private investment company that owns Albertsons, received approval from the Federal Trade Commission in January to buy Safeway (Vons’ parent company) for about $9.2 billion.

In order to comply with antitrust laws that seek to preserve a competitive marketplace, Albertsons and Safeway had to shed a total of 168 stores. Haggen is one of four buyers approved by the FTC to purchase the stores and it’s getting the lion’s share — 146 of them.

The 83 California supermarkets to be converted include 55 Albertsons stores and 28 Vons locations. An Albertsons at 5038 W. Avenue North in Palmdale and a Vons at 240 S. Diamond Bar Blvd. in Diamond Bar are among the first Southern California stores to be converted this month.

For more, read Kevin Smith’s story HAGGEN

Diamond Bar warns drivers about traffic delays

City of Diamond Bar

Motorists, be advised that if your morning or afternoon commute includes crossing the Grand Avenue Bridge above the 60 freeway, you can expect heavy traffic delays  as a result of a City of Industry road resurfacing project.

The project, which involves grinding and repaving the stretch of road between the freeway on and off-ramps, will result in a single traffic lane open to traffic on both the southbound and northbound sides. The lane reductions coupled with the vehicles exiting and entering the freeways will create significant delays for through traffic.

It is anticipated that the project will continue into the middle of next week; the lane closures by the City of Industry are scheduled as follows:

  • southbound (coming from City of Industry) lane closure from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • northbound (going out of City of Diamond Bar) lane closure to start from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In an effort to help alleviate traffic in the area, City of Diamond Bar has:

  • set up a message board on Grand Avenue between Montefino Avenue and Lavender Drive to inform passing motorists of the road work and encourage alternate routes;
  • worked with Caltrans to increase the timing cycle length at the traffic signals near the freeway on and off-ramps during the morning rush hour; and
  • will schedule Sheriff’s deputies to assist with traffic control as needed.

Questions related to the road resurfacing project should be directed to the City of Industry at 626.333.2211.

Teens arrested on suspicion of breaking into Diamond Bar home

Deputies arrested three teenage burglary suspects Sunday afternoon after they broke into a Diamond Bar home occupied by another teenager, officials said.

The break-in occurred about 12:10 p.m. in the 800 block of Leyland Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Buckner said.

A teenage boy was home alone when the burglars knocked at the door, then forced their way into the house after receiving no response, the lieutenant said.

The victim called 9-1-1 to report the burglary while the teenage suspects were still inside the home, Buckner said. They fled in a blue Honda Civic before deputies arrived, however.

A neighbor managed to take down the license plate number, and deputies soon found it nearby and pulled it over, Buckner said.

Deputies arrested the three teens, who are all about 17 years old, and recovered several hundred dollars believed to have been stolen in the break-in, he said

Industry NFL stadium overshadowed by Inglewood, Carson

Artist's rendering of proposed "Los Angeles Stadium."  Developer, Edward P. Roski, Jr.,

Artist’s rendering of proposed “Los Angeles Stadium.” Developer, Edward P. Roski, Jr.,

By Jason Henry, Staff Writer

Diamond Bar Mayor Steve Tye said Wednesday if he ranked the proposed Los Angeles’ stadiums by their chance of getting build that he would put the one he wants the most at the bottom of the list.

A NFL stadium in Industry, proposed by billionaire Ed Roski Jr.’s Majestic Realty Co., seems more and more unlikely as team owners jockey for properties in Carson and Inglewood, he said. Roski, who wanted a share of the team if one came to the city, never found the support from owners that the newer projects have.

“There was a time when you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about it,” Tye said of Roski’s proposal. “Then all of a sudden, nothing.”

With the Raiders, the Rams and the Chargers linked closely to Carson and Inglewood, Tye said he isn’t sure if that leaves a team for Industry.

Walnut Councilmen Tony Cartagena and Bob Pachecho also said Wednesday they have heard nothing about Roski’s plan recently and neither believe it is likely.

Walnut and Diamond Bar settled with Majestic Realty in 2009 over concerns that the stadium would negatively impact their communities. However, the NFL has not written Roski’s proposal off.

“It remains one of the sites we continue to monitor,” stated Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s spokesperson, in an email.

Roski announced his plans to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles with a state-of-the-art, $800 million stadium in Industry in 2008. The website for the Los Angeles Stadium at Grand Crossing still exists, but the site has not been updated in years.

Read more in Jason Henry’s story STADIUM.

Deputy, driver hurt in Diamond Bar crash

(Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

(Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

A deputy and a motorist were injured after a patrol car collided with a sedan Tuesday afternoon. The crash happened just before 12:30 p.m.

Lt. John Saleeby of the sheriff’s Walnut/Diamond Bar station said the deputy was responding to a rescue call in Diamond Bar when the patrol car became involved in a traffic collision at Grand Avenue and South Diamond Bar Boulevard.

• Photos: Diamond Bar sheriff’s crash

He didn’t have details about how the crash occurred. The deputy was shaken up and complained of neck pain, Saleeby said. He said the man driving the sedan also complained of pain.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Randall Wright said the crash was reported to the fire department as a traffic collision with persons trapped. He said no one was trapped.

Both the deputy and the driver were transported to a hospital. Lt. Edward Wells said the deputy was treated and released. He didn’t know if the driver is still in the hospital.

The deputy has been with the sheriff’s department for 15 years.

Culbreath facing murder charges for 60 Freeway crash

By Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer

A Fontana woman accused of killing six people in a wrong-way wreck last year on the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar will face the charges at trial.

A judge ruled today that sufficient probable cause existed to support the charges against 22-year-old Olivia Carolee Culbreath at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in Pomona Superior Court. Culbreath has been charged with six counts of murder.

She returns to court on Feb. 25 for arraignment on the charges. If convicted she faces a sentence of life in prison. Culbreath is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles on $6 million bail.

The defendant was driving a Chevrolet Camaro on the 60 Freeway when she was involved in a wrong-way, head-on crash, the California Highway Parol said. Culbreath drove at speeds close to 100 mph.

The car was headed east on the westbound 60 Freeway when it crashed head-on a sport utility vehicle, the CHP said. After the crash another vehicle crashed into the SUV.

Two women in Culbreath’s car died as a result of the crash. One victim was Culbreath’s sister, Maya, 24, and Kristin Young, 21, of Chino.

 

 

Four people in the SUV were thrown from the vehicle.

The four victims, all from Huntington Park, were Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47, Leticia Ibarra, 42, Jessica Mejia, 20, and Ester Delgado, 80.

More details to come.

In deadly Diamond Bar crash, hearing for Olivia Carolee Culbreath postponed

By Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer

A preliminary hearing for a Fontana woman accused of crashing her vehicle while driving the wrong way on the 60 Freeway and killing six people has been continued to Wednesday.

The hearing for Olivia Carolee Culbreath, 22, which was to be in its third day Thursday, has been taking place at the Pomona courthouse of Los Angeles Superior Court to determine if there’s enough evidence to send the case to trial.

Culbreath is accused of driving a Chevrolet Camaro east on westbound 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar on Feb. 9. About 4:45 a.m. the car crashed head-on into a Ford Explorer, the California Highway Patrol said. Following the initial crash another vehicle crashed into the Explorer.

Two passengers in Culbreath’s car died as did four occupants in the Explorer who were thrown from the vehicle.

Culbreath is charged with six counts of murder for allegedly causing the crash.

Culbreath faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if she’s convicted of the murder charges.

Culbreath, who is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles in lieu of $6 million bail, has been arriving in court in a wheelchair.

At this point she is disabled and requires regular medical care, Culbreath’s lawyers said.

“We don’t know if she’ll ever walk again,” said Daniel R. Perlman, one of Culbreath’s attorneys.