Pasadena man accused of fatal hit-and-run in Alhambra


ALHAMBRA >> A Pasadena man is accused of vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run for allegedly fatally striking a woman with his SUV and fleeing the scene, police said Wednesday.
Erick Ulises Reyes-Melo, 28, of Pasadena was arrested hours after the collision, which took place about 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday at Main Street and Meridian Avenue, according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The pedestrian struck by the SUV, identified as 50-year-old Maria Salazar of Inglewood, succumbed to her injuries Wednesday morning at Huntington Hospital, Alhambra police Sgt. Steven Carr said in a written statement.
Officers responded to reports of the collision and found Salazar “severely injured” at the scene, Carr said.
“The striking vehicle, described by witnesses as a dark-colored SUV, had fled the scene,” the sergeant said.
Within hours, investigators identified the involved SUV and the driver.
“Officers located the vehicle Reyes-Melo was driving, a black Nissan SUV, at his home and impounded it,” Carr said. “Reyes-Melo was initially held on a felony hit and run charge.”
Following the death of the victim, Reyes-Melo is now also expected to face a manslaughter charge, officials said.
The investigation indicated Reyes-Melo’s SUV struck Salazar as he was making a left turn from northbound Meridian Avenue to westbound Main Street, according to car. Salazar was walking north across Main Avenue in a marked crosswalk.
Intoxicated driving was not initially suspected, he said.

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Woman accused of torching family’s home in Duarte


DUARTE >> A woman is accused of arson after she allegedly torched her family’s home in Duarte during an argument, authorities said.
The fire broke out about 3 p.m. at a house in the 3000 block of Freeborn Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ronald Daily said.
Deputies were first summoned to the home for a family disturbance among adult family members, the lieutenant said.
“One of the family members had deliberately lit a fire,” he said.
The others inside the home escaped without injury, but the flames engulfed the home, resulting in “substantial” damage, according to Daily.
Deputies found and arrested the alleged arsonist at the scene, he said.
The woman’s identity was not available as she was taken to a hospital prior to booking after complaining of a pre-existing medical issue, he said.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail were summoned to take over the investigation.

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Two sought in Pasadena gas station robbery


PASADENA >> Two men held up a Pasadena gas station at gunpoint on Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The heist unfolded about 1:30 p.m. at a Chevron station, 233 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
One of the two robbers pointed a handgun at the woman working behind the counter at the gas station and demanded money, he said. The second robber acted as a lookout.
Both men fled after obtaining an undetermined amount of money from the cash register, according to the lieutenant said. No injuries were reported.
Police described both robbers as Latino men in their early-20s. One stood about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed about 175 pounds, and was clean-shaven, with a medium complexion, Mercado said. He wore a white T-shirt, black shorts and a black baseball cap and carried a black handgun.
The second robber was also about 5 feet 10 inches tall, about 150 pounds, of light complexion, with brown hair, Mercado said. He wore an orange hooded sweatshirt and dark shorts.
They were last seen running fro the store. No getaway car was seen.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED: Deputies hunt for carjacking suspects in Valinda


Deputies searched a Valinda neighborhood for a group of three carjacking suspects on Wednesday, authorities said.
The manhunt began with a report of a carjacking just before 2 p.m. at Fairgrove and Aileron avenues in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. David Cortinas said.
Three men took a man’s car by force, the sergeant said. No injuries were reported.
Deputies quickly responded and spotted the just-stolen car still within the same neighborhood, Cortinas said. The driver briefly led deputies on a chase before the suspects abandoned the Nissan Altima in the 1200 block of Bannon Avenue.
Officials cordoned off the neighborhood as they searched for the suspects, Cortinas said.
Deputies helped staff at nearby Fairgrove Academy, an elementary and middle school, to conduct a “controlled release” of students, Capt. Tim Murakami said via Twitter.
The suspects ultimately eluded capture, Cortinas said. Investigators were looking into the possibility they may have fled the area in a black Dodge Charger.
Authorities called off the search shortly after 5 p.m.

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Man shot to death while driving in South El Monte


SOUTH EL MONTE >> Detectives are seeking clues after a man was gunned down while driving through a residential neighborhood in South El Monte on Monday night, authorities said.
The shooting took place shortly after 10:30 p.m. along Fern Street, just west of Santa Anita Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Curt Messerschmidt said.
“Upon their arrival, deputies learned that the victim was driving in front of the location, when an unknown suspect shot into the vehicle,” Deputy Kelvin Moody of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
The wounded man’s car continued traveling a short distance before crashing into a parked car, the deputy said.
Officials said the victim, initially described only as a Latino man, was struck in the torso by at least one bullet. At least three bullet casings were found at the scene, according to Messerschmidt.
Paramedics pronounced the victim dead at the scene.
No further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting, including a description of the attacker, were available.
Anyone with information can reach 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.

— Brian Day and Christopher Yee

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Officials rescue girl trapped in trunk of car in Arcadia


ARCADIA >> Officials rescued a child unharmed after she accidentally locked herself inside the trunk of a car at a mall in Arcadia on Sunday afternoon.
The mishap was first reported about 3:50 p.m. at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, 400 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia Fire Department Battalion Chief Cory Cerwin said.
The girl was with her father when she decided to climb into the trunk, he said. She pulled the lid closed.
“She happened to have the keys to the car as well,” the battalion chief said. The “frantic” father called authorities for help.
The doors of the car remained unlocked, allowing firefighters to access the passenger compartment, Cerwin said. They then cut a small hole in the rear seat of the car, just large enough for the trapped girl to pass the car key through.
Paramedics examined the girl once she was freed, he said. She was “a little sweaty,” but uninjured.
Cerwin said the car as equipped with a button allowing the trunk to be opened from within, but it wqs not working.

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UPDATED: Woman escapes from kidnappers who forced her into van in Azusa


AZUSA >> A woman escaped from three masked kidnappers who forced her into a minivan as she stood on a sidewalk in Azusa early Sunday morning, officials said.
The crime took place about 2:45 a.m. as a 34-year-old woman was standing on a sidewalk while waiting for a ride in the 200 block of East First Street, Azusa police official said in a written statement.
“A vehicle approached from the west and stopped. A male passenger exited the van and forced the victim into the back seat,” according to the statement. “As the van drove away east on First Street, she was able to fight off the kidnappers and exit the van.”
The woman hopped out of the still-moving minivan, which sped away.
The driver and two passengers of the van were initially described only as three men with their faces covered., Sgt. Jorge Sandoval said. Their vehicle was described as a black minivan, similar in appearance to a Nissan Quest.
No weapon was seen, and no serious injuries were reported, according to the sergeant.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Azusa police at 626-812-3200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Man killed, 4 hurt in 6-vehicle wreck on 605 Freeway in Industry


INDUSTRY >> A man died and four other people were hurt in a six-vehicle pile-up on the 605 Freeway in Industry early Sunday, authorities said.
The deadly chain reaction crash took place about 2 a.m. on the southbound 605 Freeway, just north of Rose Hills Road, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
The man who died was standing along the roadway, not inside a vehicle, when he was struck, Officer C. Izydorek of the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office said in a written statement.
The circumstances of the collision remained under investigation and few details were available.
CHP logs show officials first received a report of a disabled vehicle in the carpool lane at 1:58 a.m. It had possibly struck the center divider.
Three minutes later, witnesses reported at least one additional car had smashed into the stopped vehicle.
CHP officers arrived to find four cars and two SUVs had become involved in the wreck, according to Izydorek.
“During the sequence of events, it is believed at least one of the vehicles struck the pedestrian, resulting in a fatality,” the officer said.
Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene. His identity was not available Sunday pending positive identification and notification of family, coroner’s officials said.
It was not clear whether he had exited the original disabled vehicle, but the Driver of 2008 Nissan Versa involved in the pile-up was unaccounted for.
A 21-year-old Seal Beach man driving a 1970 Datson 240Z in the crash suffered major injuries, Izydorek said. His passenger, a Long Beach woman, suffered injuries described as moderate.
A man and woman who were in a 1998 Toyota Camry suffered minor injuries, officials said.
A couple riding in a 2014 Chevrolet Suburban, a couple in a 2015 Dodge Durango and a man driving a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro were unhurt, according to the CHP.
Currently, the California Highway Patrol is looking for any witnesses who may have witnessed this traffic collision,” Izydorek said. The CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office can be reached at 562-868-0503.
Officials shut down all southbound lanes of the 605 Freeway for about seven hours following the collision, diverting traffic onto the 60 Freeway.

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Driver sought after brief pursuit, crash in Pasadena


PASADENA >> Police are seeking a man who they say rammed another car while fleeing from officers on Friday.
The incident began about 7:20 p.m. when an officer tried to pull over a car for a traffic violation at Lake Avenue and Boylston Street, according to Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe.
The driver fled from police, he said. He rammed another occupied car as he fled through the parking lot of a business in the 700 block of Lake Avenue in what was believed to be an intentional act.
Police said the driver abandoned the crashed car and ran, leaving a woman who was riding as a passenger behind in the car.
Officers searched the area but did not find the driver, Grisafe said. They did, however, recover a handgun that had been discarded in the area.
A detailed description of the driver was not available as police continued working to determine his identity on Saturday.
The passenger was arrested due to outstanding warrants, he added.
The man driving the car struck by the fleeing suspect’s vehicle complained of pain but did not appear to suffer any serious injuries, Grisafe said.

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Suspect arrested following robbery at Pasadena park


PASADENA >> A man punched another man and robbed him of his cell phone before being arrested on Friday afternoon, police said.
The alleged robbery took place about 1:15 p.m. at McDonald Park, along Mountain Street between Wilson and Mar Vista avenues, Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe said.
A man in his 20s exited a restroom at the park when he was confronted by the suspect, later identified as 22-year-old Rafael Banuelos of Pasadena, Grisafe said.
After a brief exchange of words, the victim began walking away, the lieutenant said. Banuelos then punched him in the face and snatched his cell phone before running off.
Officers searched the area and soon found and detained Banuelos nearby, according to Grisafe. The allegedly stolen cell phone was recovered.
The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries that were not believed to be major, he added.
According to county booking records, Banuelos was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

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