COVINA — A Covina woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of child abuse resulting in the death of her 8-month-old grandson, who was found unresponsive in a bathtub while in her care in October.
Irma Godinez, 48, was ordered back to Pomona Superior Court Dec. 19 for a preliminary hearing, court officials said.
Julian Sosa died two days after being found unconscious and not breathing in a bathtub at Godinez’s apartment Oct. 22, Covina police officials said. Godinez was watching the infant for her daughter, who was not present.
Coroner’s officials said Godinez left the baby alone in the tub to answer the phone before finding him unresponsive.
County booking records indicated Godinez was being held in lieu of $230,000 bail.
COVINA — A Covina man accused of accidentally shooting and killing his brother while playing with a handgun pleaded no contest to a charge of involuntary manslaughter Thursday, officials said.
Oswaldo Cibrian, 25, was immediately sentenced to three years of formal probation, Pomona Superior Court officials said.
His brother, 21-year-old Eliazar Mejia, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the face when a gun the brothers were handling along with their 19-year-old cousin, who was visiting from Oregon, went off, Covina police officials said. The men were believed to have been drinking before the fatal mishap, which took place Nov. 6 in an apartment in the 300 block of North Prospero Drive.
Cibrian and the cousin, Juan Vasquez, called police to report the shooting, officials said. Vasquez was arrested along with Cibrian, but prosecutors declined to file charges against him.
Cibrian was initially arrested on suspicion of murder, but ultimately charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was released from jail on a bond Nov. 12 pending legal proceedings.
SOUTH PASADENA — Police sought the public’s help Thursday in tracking down a burglar who used a hammer to smash his way into a gas station last week.
The crime, which was caught on surveillance video, took place about 2:35 a.m. Nov. 23 at an Arco gas station in the 736 S. Mission Street, South Pasadena police said in a written statement.
The suspect used a hammer to smash a hole in the front door of the business before helping himself to cash and coins from an office and cash from a register, police said. He spent about two minutes inside the store.
Police described the burglar as a Latino man, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall and of thin build. He wore a gray colored sweat shirt with a Nike logo with the hood pulled over his head and face, a black jacket, black pants, black gloves, white sneakers and a black backpack.
Anyone with information was asked to contact South Pasadena police detectives at 626-403-7280.
SURVEILLANCE PHOTOS courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department
SAN DIMAS — A deputy arrested a parolee with a dagger who was driving a stolen car with the held of two good Samaritans who helped subdue him, officials said.
Ryan Edwards, 38, was booked on suspicion of auto theft, possession of a dagger and violating parole at the conclusion of the incident, which began about 9 a.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of South Lone Hill Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Kirk Smith said.
A deputy spotted Edwards driving in a pickup truck and tried to pull him over after witnessing a traffic violation, Smith said.
Edwards quickly drove the pickup truck into the parking lot of a business complex, where he abandoned the truck and began to run, the sergeant said.
As the deputy tried to detain the Edwards at gunpoint, he threw an object — later found to be a dagger with a 6-inch blade — underneath a nearby vehicle, Smith said. Edwards then kept his hands raised as he walked away from the deputy and into traffic on Lone Hill Avenue.
As the deputy was struggling to subdue the man in the middle of the street, Smith said, two good Samaritans joined the scuffle and helped the deputy handcuff Edwards.
Investigators then recovered the dagger and determined the pickup truck Edwards was driving had been reported stolen from Rialto, Smith said.
Edwards, who is on parole for a previous robbery convicted, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance Friday, according to county booking records.
Officials placed a middle school on lockdown Thursday as they investigated a bomb threat phoned into a Rite Aid store that ultimately turned out to be unfounded, police said.
Employees at the store, 165 E. Foothill Blvd., reported receiving a threatening phone call from a female caller shortly before 11 a.m., Arcadia police Lt. Paul Foley said.
“It was a vague bomb threat that something was going to explode inside the store,” he said.
The manager had evacuated the store before police arrives, according to Lt. Bob Anderson.
Officers searched the facility and found nothing dangerous or suspicious, he added, and the store was reopened about noon.
The middle school was locked down for about 45 minutes during the incident, Anderson said.
An investigation was ongoing into the identity of the person who made the threat.
An overturned big rig forced the closure of eastbound Pomona (60) Freeway transition road to the northbound San Gabriel River (605) Freeway early Thursday, officials said.
The crash was reported about 7:50 a.m. on the transition road in an unincorporated county area near Industry, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
The big rig jackknifed, blocking all lanes, according to CHP Officer Ed Jacobs. Officials issued a Sig Alert that was expected to remain in effect through 1 p.m. as workers repaired a damaged section of guardrail..
CHP logs indicated a second collision occurred at the same location, involving three cars and no injuries.
The crash on the connector road between the 60 and 605 Freeway was only one of many obstacles commuters faced on Los Angeles County’s rain-slickened freeways early Thursday.
Another jackknifed big rig prompted the closure of the connector road connecting the westbound Foothill (210) Freeway to the westbound 210, where it forks with the Ventura (134) Freeway in Pasadena, shortly before 6:30 a.m., CHP officials said.
That crash, which resulted in minor injuries, blocked traffic for more than an hour and a half.
Further to the south on the Ventura (134) Freeway, a person was killed and two others injured in a Toluca Lake crash reported at 4:43 a.m., Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said. That wreck happened on the westbound 134 freeway at Cahuenga Boulevard.
Two hours earlier, a jackknifed big rig on the 5 freeway north of Colorado Street near Griffith Park closed all lanes until 7:45 a.m., according to the CHP.
More than five times more traffic collisions were handled by the CHP in Los Angeles County Thursday morning between 12:01 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. increased five-fold Thursday, compared with statistics from one week earlier when it was not raining, officials said. CHP officers responded to 188 collisions Thursday morning, up from 36 on the morning of Nov. 22.
A Duarte School teacher has been arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure for allegedly exposing and touching himself on the balcony of his Glendora apartment earlier this month, officials said
Steven Wilcoxon, 58, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after turning himself in at the Glendora Police Department, Glendora police Lt. Brian Summers said.
He was booked on suspicion of a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure and being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, authorities said.
He is a teacher at Northview Intermediate School in Duarte, which is part of the Duarte Unified School district, the lieutenant said.
The warrant was obtained following two weeks of investigation after witnesses at a business across the street from Wilcoxon’s apartment in the 600 block of W. Route 66 in Glendora called police shortly after 11:20 a.m. Nov. 12 to report the alleged indecency, officials said.
Summers said witnesses reported seeing Wilcoxon walking nude on his third floor balcony, and sitting in the threshold of his balcony while mastubating in public view. One of the witnesses took a cell phone image.
Upon responding to the indecent exposure call, “Officers attempted to make contact with the suspect at his apartment, however, he could not be located at the time,” police said in a written statement.
Through a photographic line-up, three witnesses identified Wilcoxon as the man they saw exposing himself on the balcony.
Wilcoxon cooperated with detectives as the investigation continued in the following days, Summers said.
“Searching his apartment, detectives located evidence that corroborated a photograph that was taken by one of the witnesses with a cell phone camera at the time of the incident,” according to the police statement.
After detectives presented their evidence to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, an arrest warrant was issued for Wilcoxon Tuesday, Summers said. He promply turned himself in.
Police found no similar allegations leveled against Wilcoxon in the past.
“There’s absolutely zero indication hes been accused of any sex crimes,” Summers said.
He identified himself to police as an 8th grade science teacher at Northview Intermediate School, Summers said.
DUSD Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Student Service Miriam Fox said Wilcoxon was not expected to be back in a classroom in the immediate future.
Since his arrest, “We’ve had no contact with him,” she said. “Based on his arrest and charges, this would be a compulsory leave situation.”
Fox emphasized that the alleged incident did not involve children or the school.
“We are always concerned about the well-being of our schools, our students,” she added.
The arrest occurred during closing arguments in the trial of another Duarte Unified School District Teacher accused of molesting five students over 15 years.
Beardslee Elementary School teacher Wade Bughman, 43, of Monrovia, is charged with nine counts of child molestation steming from the alleged abuse of students between ages 7 and 12.
PHOTO of Steven Wilcoxon courtesy of the Glendora Police Department
EAST VALINDA — Coroner’s officials Wednesday released the name of a 22-year-old La Puente man found shot to death earlier this week.
Dennis Ramon Osario died at the scene of the shooting, which was reported about 10:30 p.m. Monday in the 18600 block of Villa Park Street, in the unincorporated county area of East Valinda, Los Angeles County Department of Coroners Lt. Fred Corral said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators described him as a documented gang member.
Few details were available Wednesday regarding the circumstances of the shooting, Lt. Mike Rosson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
A motive and suspect description were unknown, he said.
“It appears that he was in a rival gang area,” Rosson said. “We don’t know why.”
Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and seeing a dark-colored, compact car speeding away from the scene, officials said, however it remained unclear Wednesday whether that vehicle was involved in the shooting.
Initial reports also described a Latino man running from the scene of the shooting, though detectives had not been able to confirm that piece of information, Rosson said.
A parked car and a home that were unrelated to the shooting victim were also struck by gunfire, however no one else was injured, Rosson said.
The investigation was ongoing. Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
POMONA — A driver died and his three passengers were hospitalized after a car crashed into a tree along Garey Avenue early Wednesday, officials said.
The dead man’s name was not available pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said. The driver was initially described as appearing to be in his 20s.
The solo-vehicle crash was reported at 4:13 a.m. on Garey Avenue, just north of Lexington Avenue, Pomona police officials said in a written statement.
“Arriving fire and police personnel found four persons in the vehicle,” according to the statement.
“The driver succumbed to his injuries at the scene,” the statement said. “The other three injured persons were transported to a trauma center with moderate to severe injuries.”
A male passenger and a female passenger suffered moderate injuries in the crash, while another female passenger was hospitalized with moderate to severe injuries, officials said.
Officials initially called for two rescue helicopters to fly the injured patients to the hospital, however they were unable to respond due to weather, and the patients were hospitalized by ambulance, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
The Pomona Police Department’s Major Accident Investigation Team is investigating the crash.
Police declined to release further details Wednesday, but asked anyone with information to contact the department’s traffic unit.