ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A man died early Thursday and two women suffered injuries after his Infinite sedan crashed head-on into another car along a single-lane road in Rowland Heights, authorities said.
The crash took place about 2:10 a.m. on Brea Canyon Cutoff Road, just south of Bickford Drive, Officer C. Chambers of the California Highway Patrol’s Santa Fe Springs area office said in a written statement.
A 25-year-old Fullerton man was at the wheel of a 2011 Infinity G37 headed south, Chambers said. A 23-year-old Fullerton woman rode as a passenger in the Infiniti.
A 22-year-old Walnut woman was heading north on Brea Canyon Cutoff Road in a 2010 Lexus IS350, he said.
“For some undetermined reason, (the Infiniti) crossed over the solid painted double yellow lines that separate the northbound lane from the southbound lane,” Chambers said. The Infiniti veered directly in front of the oncoming Lexus, which struck the Infiniti on the driver-side.
Paramedics pronounced the 25-year-old driver of the Infiniti dead at the scene, officials said. His name was withheld Thursday pending notification of his family.
His passenger suffered major injuries including numerous broken bones and lacerations, Chambers said.
The woman driving the Lexus suffered injuries described as moderate, including a broken nose and injuries to her shoulder and hip.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office at 562-868-0503.
COVINA >> Police are seeking a man who assaulted and robbed another man outside of a Covina 99 Cents Only Store earlier this week.
The crime took place about 8:40 a.m. Tuesday outside of the store in the 500 block of North Azusa Avenue, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
The victim, a West Covina man in his 30s, believed he was followed to the store by the suspect after seeing him at a nearby Stater Bros. grocery store just to the south along Azusa Avenue in West Covina, the lieutenant said.
The robber confronted the victim in the parking lot and demanded something from inside the trunk of the victim’s car, Walczak said. It was unclear what the robber was after.
As the victim ran toward the store, the robber chased after him and wrestled him to the ground, police said. The victim tried to use his cell phone to call police, at which time the robber grabbed it from him and fled.
The man suffered no serious injuries, Walczak said.
A detailed suspect description was not available. Though he motioned as if he had a weapon hidden in his waistband, no weapon was seen during the crime.
LOS ANGELES >> A former Rosemead woman received a sentence of more than four years in federal prison Tuesday for trafficking in counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes and Viagra pills, authorities said.
Su Qin Yang, 45, lived in Rosemead prior to fleeing to China in 2012, as the criminal investigation into her gained momentum, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. She is also known as Lily or Anita Chang.
She pleaded guilty in May to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods, “and admitted in her plea agreement that she trafficked in almost 4 million counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes and almost 4,000 counterfeit Viagra pills,” according to the statement.
United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow sentenced Yang to 57 months in federal prison, officials said.
“The government is advised that after defendant’s arrest, the illegal sale of counterfeit cigarettes in the Los Angeles area decreased dramatically,” prosecutors noted in a legal brief.
Investigators seized the bogus goods from Yang’s home and storage facilities in the summer of 2012.
She fled to China after the search warrants were served, but before a federal grand jury returned a 16-count indictment in August of 2013, Mrozek said. She returned to the U.S. in January. In addition to the cigarettes and pills, officials also seized about $440,000 in alleged ill-gotten profits.
While in the process of negotiating with prosecutors in 2012 regarding a plea deal, Yang and her husband fled to China, leaving their minor children behind, according to Mrozek.
“Thereafter, (Yang) arranged for minor children to be transported to Washington state and then flown to China, attempting to smuggle over $300,000 in additional cash with them,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.
Yang’s husband, Antonio Limbeek, remains a fugitive and is believed to be Indonesia, officials said.
The investigation was triggered after Phillip Morris USA, the manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, notified authorities of the counterfeit cigarette trafficking, Mrozek said. In addition to her prison term, Yang was ordered to pay $308,894 in restitution to Phillip Morris USA. The company has arranged for the funds to be given to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
NORWALK >> A man was found slain inside a van parked in a residential Norwalk neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
Eric Hector Sarabia, 36, was pronounced dead after being discovered suffering from trauma to his head and face inside a van parked in the 13900 block of Flatbush Avenue, just north of Rosecrans Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. No city of residence was listed for Sarabia at the coroner’s office.
A neighbor reported discovering the body about 3:50 p.m., though it was unclear exactly how long it had been there before being found, Lt. Steve Jauch of the Sheriff’s homicide Bureau said Wednesday.
Also unclear Wednesday was how Sarabia died.
“There was trauma to his face and his head,” the lieutenant said. “It’s definitely being investigated by as homicide. We just don’t know how he died.”
An autopsy was yet to be carried out, Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner Coroner said.
Sarabia’s body was found in the rear portion of a white van, officials said.
Sarabia was not the registered owner of the vehicle, Jauch said. The investigator declined to discuss who did own the vehicle, citing the active investigation.
No further details were available.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> A Pasadena man used pepper spray to defend himself after a family member attacked him with a knife amid a psychotic episode Sunday, police said.
The incident took place about 10 a.m. at a home in the 1800 block of El Sereno Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
A 23-year-old Pasadena man attacked a 34-year-old family member, the lieutenant said.
“He was having a psychotic episode when he threatened to kill the victim with a knife he was holding in his hand,” Luna said. “He advanced toward the victim, at which point the victim pepper-sprayed the suspect in the face, thwarting the attack.”
The victim was unharmed, Luna said. The suspect was treated by paramedics for exposure to pepper spray and taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Criminal charges were likely to follow.
WHITTIER >> A police officer shot and wounded a put bull that charged at him as he was investigating a report of a disturbance at a Whittier home Friday, officials said.
The dog is expected to recover and the officer suffered no injuries in the incident, which unfolded about 4 p.m. in the 11200 block of Larrylyn Drive, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
An officer responded to a report of a dispute between a landlord and tenant, Ruiz said.
As the officer contact a resident, the pit bull ran past the dog owner and toward the officer, the lieutenant said.
Fearing for his safety, Ruiz said, the officer fired three shots from his duty weapon, striking the dog twice.
The dog was treated by a veterinarian and is expected to make a full recovery, Ruiz said.
No arrests resulted from the incident, or from the initial call of a disturbance.
SOUTH PASADENA >> An 86-year-old woman died after being struck, dragged and pinned by a car driven by a 93-year-old woman in a church parking lot Saturday afternoon as both women were leaving Mass, authorities said.
Killed was Elizabeth Cherry of South Pasadena, South Pasadena police Officer Jeff Holland said.
The “tragic accident” took place about 6:10 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 1527 Fremont Ave, South Pasadena police Sgt. Jim Valencia said.
Cherry was preparing to get into her car in the parking lot when the other woman, a Pasadena resident, struck her while backing up her Jaguar XJ6, he said.
Witnesses reported hearing the Jaguar’s engine revving steadily, as if the accelerator was being depressed, before the car shifted into reverse and lurched backward and toward the right, Holland said. The Jaguar sideswiped Cherry’s Toyota Avalon and struck her.
“The 86-year-old woman was dragged underneath the vehicle for over 100 feet until the vehicle came to rest after colliding with a block wall,” South Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
Police said the elderly victim remained pinned beneath the Jaguar when first responders arrived at the scene.
Firefighters freed the badly injured woman from beneath the car and took her to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena for treatment, officials said.
The woman succumbed to her injuries at 8:20 p.m., Valencia said.
The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, Holland said. She did not appear aware she had struck a person until afterward.
Officers from the South Pasadena Police Department’s Traffic Unit are continuing their investigation, though officials noted no overt signs pointing to a crime.
MONROVIA >> A Monrovia man armed with a statue knocked out a home-invasion robber as he held the man’s elderly father at knifepoint Friday, police said.
Eric Castillo, 23, who is believed to stay in Monrovia, was ultimately booked on suspicion of robbery after being treated for his injuries, according to Monrovia police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The incident unfolded about 2 a.m. at a home in the 800 block of Monterey Avenue, Monrovia police Sgt. Daniel Verna said.
The elderly resident answered a knock at their door, Lt. Jaime Alfaro said. Castillo brandished a knife, demanded all his money and forced his way into the home.
“The son comes downstairs and sees his (father) getting held up with a knife. He grabs a bowling ball-size glass statue,” Verna said.
“He slams it into the back of (Castillo’s) head and knocks him down.”
The son struck the intruder several more times until he was knocked unconscious, the sergeant said. The son was described as a man in his 50s.
One, or possibly more, accomplices of the suspect soon began trying to force their way into the home after realizing Castillo was not coming back, Verna said. But the father and son had already locked the doors, and the additional suspect or suspects fled when the family told them police were on their way.
Castillo told police only his girlfriend had accompanied him to the home, but the victims believed at least two additional suspects may have been outside their house.
Officers arrived and took Castillo into custody, Verna said. The family told the subdued suspect they would pray for him prior to the arrival of police, he added.
Castillo was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court, records show.
WEST COVINA >> Police reached out to the public Saturday for help in tracking down a pair of mail thieves whose crime was caught on camera.
The caper, which was recorded on surveillance cameras, took place about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of South Hillward Avenue, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said.
A man and woman arrived at the home in a black or blue, newer-model Ford F-150 pickup truck and pulled into the driveway, Lopez said.
“The female suspect exited the passenger side of the truck, walked to the front porch and removed mail and a package from the porch,” he said. The woman returned to the truck and fled, along with the male driver.
Police described the woman was described as Latina, 20 to 30 years old, 230 to 250 pounds, with brown hair. She wore jeans and a mult-colored top. A further description of the male driver was not available.
With the holiday season approaching, and the influx of package deliveries it brings, police throughout the region warn residents to be cautious of mail and package thieves.
Authorities suggest requiring signatures for valuable deliveries, and having them delivered to a place where someone will be available to receive it.
Anyone with information is asked to call West Covina police at 626-939-8557. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to the department’s 24-hour recorded tip line at 626-939-8688.
PASADENA >> A routine traffic stop Friday night ended with the arrest of a convicted felon in possession of a loaded handgun, police said.
Adrian Rodriguez, 22, of Pasadena was arrested following the 8 p.m. encounter at Raymond Avenue and Villa Street, according to Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado.
Gang unit officers patrolling the area pulled over a car for a traffic violation, he said.
“As their conducting their investigation, they found the gun in the passenger compartment,” Mercado said. The weapon was described as a loaded 9mm handgun.
Rodriguez, who was recently discharged from parole for burglary, is barred from possessing firearms.
According to county booking records, Rodriguez was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.