Sierra Madre to discuss hiring sheriff’s department for night patrols

SIERRA MADRE >> The Sierra Madre City Council discuss hiring the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to take over night patrols in the city later this month.
The Sierra Madre Police Department is woefully understaffed due to budgetary concerns and uncertainty about the department’s future, according to city officials. Nine of the department’s 20 full-time officers have left in recent months.
“Although the current staff is working to keep the community safe, this staffing model in not sustainable,” city officials said in a written statement.
After a previous plan to have Arcadia police patrol Sierra Madre between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. seven days a week was rejected by Arcadia officials, Sierra Madre is now turning to the sheriff’s department to take over night patrols.
The issue will be discussed at the upcoming Feb. 23 council meeting.
A staff report is available on the city’s website at www.cityofsierramadre.com/cityhall/agendas.

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Service planned for ski patrol volunteer from Winnetka killed in Mt. Waterman skiing accident


ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Services are planned Friday for a Winnetka man and volunteer ski patrol member who died over the weekend in a skiing accident near Mt. Waterman, officials said.
William Robert Eslick Jr., 61, died Saturday afternoon after he struck a tree while skiing near Mt. Waterman, deep in the Angeles National Forest north of the San Gabriel Valley, Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said.
A memorial service is planned at 11 a.m. Friday at the Elks Club, 20925 Osborne Street in Canoga Park, according to the National Ski Patrol.
The accident took place about 12:30 p.m., Winter said.
“Two patrons on a ski lift heard a loud impact,” he said. They reported it to the NSP, and Eslick’s patrol partner soon found him.
Paramedics soon found Eslick and pronounced him dead at the scene, officials said.
An autopsy determined he died from blunt force trauma to the chest, with a contributing cause of heart disease, Winter said. The death was ruled accidental.
Eslick was described as “an expert skier” and ski instructor who volunteered for the NSP’s Far West Division, Winter added.
Family members could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Eslick’s colleagues in the NSP, Far West Division Director Bill Gibson said.
“On behalf of the National Ski Patrol family, we are deeply saddened by this tragic event, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Bill’s family,” Gibson said. “Because the accident is under investigation, we cannot provide further comment regarding the accident at this time.

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86-year-old man goes missing in Monterey Park

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MONTEREY PARK >> Police are asking the public to keep an eye open for an 86-year-old Monterey Park man who went missing while taking a walk Wednesday afternoon.
Alexander Wu Wang was last seen about 4 p.m. taking his usual walk in his neighborhood along Pomelo Avenue, between Newmark and Graves avenues, Monterey Park police Sgt. Bob Hung said. He failed to return home.
Worried family members told police Wang had shown early signs of possible dementia, he said.
Wang is Asian, about 5 feet 4 inches tall and 130 pounds, with white hair and brown eyes, police said. He was last seen wearing a blue, long-sleeve checkered shirt and blue pants.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Monterey Park police at 626-307-1211.

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UPDATED: Man found dead following La Mirada SWAT standoff; suicide suspected


LA MIRADA >> A sheriff’s SWAT team found a man dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot late Wednesday following a five-hour standoff at a La Mirada home, authorities said.
The incident began about 5:20 p.m. at a home in the 12000 block of Los Coyotes Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Family members called 9-1-1 a little more than an hour earlier to report the man was suicidal and armed with a rifle, Lt. Robin Limon of the sheriff’s Norwalk Station said.
Responding deputies heard the sounds of gunshots emanating from within the home, she said. The man’s wife and son had gotten out unharmed.
The sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau, or SWAT team, was called to the scene, along with crisis negotiators. Authorities evacuated nearby homes as they continued trying to communicate with the man.
“Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Crisis Negotiations Team made numerous attempts to bring about a peaceful resolution tonight in La Mirada, however contact with the armed barricaded suspect was unsuccessful,” Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “Special Enforcement Bureau deputies made entry into the location and found a male adult inside deceased.”
The investigation was turned over to detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.

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UDPATED: Diamond Bar burglary suspects lead deputies on chase to South San Gabriel


SOUTH SAN GABRIEL >> Deputies arrested two alleged burglars and sought a third after they led deputies on a chase from Diamond Bar to South San Gabriel, then continued to run after crashing their car, authorities said.
The incident began about 12:45 p.m. with a report of a burglary in Diamond Bar, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. James Long said.
Deputies spotted the suspects fleeing the area in a gold Jeep Cherokee, the sergeant said. The driver led deputies on a pursuit west along the 60 Freeway until it exited northbound San Gabriel Boulevard and crashed at Delta Avenue.
The Jeep struck a curb and a fence, Long said.
Three men got out of the crashed car and continued fleeing on foot, Long said.
Two of them were soon apprehended in the area, while a third remained at-large shortly before 3 p.m, he said.
Officers from other area agencies joined sheriff’s officials, as well as law enforcement dogs and helicopters, in the search for the third suspect.
Officials focused their efforts on a neighborhood just northeast of San Gabriel Boulevard and Delta Avenue, in the unincorporated county area of South San Gabriel, before calling of the search about four hours later.
Deputies searched the area near the offramp, where the suspects were believed to have tossed an item during the chase, but found nothing, Long said.
The arrested suspects names and booking charges were not available Wednesday afternoon, nor were details regarding the original burglary, Lt. John Saleeby said.

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Police: 5 DUI suspects caught driving away from West Covina courthouse without valid licenses during Glendora police sting


WEST COVINA >> Police cited and impounded the cars of five drivers who drove away from a courthouse in West Covina after having their licenses suspended or revoked, or being ordered by a judge not to drive, due to pending DUI cases, officials said.
Glendora police officers conducted the sting between 8 a.m. and noon Wednesday at the Los Angeles Superior Court’s West Covina Branch, 1427 W. Covina Parkway, Glendora police Community Service Officer Wendy Brewer said in a written statement.
Police officers staked out those offenders leaving the courthouse without a valid license who proceeded to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and drive away,” Brewer said.
The targeted drivers are intoxicated driving suspects, she explained. Some had their licenses suspended or revoked, while others had no licenses to begin with and had been ordered by a judge not to drive.
Officers followed 11 such people from the courthouse.
“While some offenders complied with the law and had alternate means of transportation, five individuals drove away despite judges’ orders,” Brewer said. “Those who chose to drive with their invalid license statuses were stopped by waiting officers, cited back into court and their vehicles were towed.”
They potentially face even longer license suspensions, along with other penalties,
The sting was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Temple City man found dead along 10 Freeway in El Monte identified


EL MONTE >> Authorities have released the name of a man found dead in some bushes along a freeway offramp in El Monte on Friday.
Samuel Arteche Jr., 45, was pronounced dead about 12:15 p.m. Friday after he was found unresponsive near the Santa Anita offramp of the eastbound 10 Freeway, Lt. David Smith of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said. He was listed as a Temple City resident.
A transient approached a Freeway Services Patrol worker and said he believed his friend had died, CHP Sgt. Mike Maehr said.
El Monte police took over the investigation and noted no overt signs of foul play, El Monte police Lt. Ben Lowry said.
An autopsy had not yet been performed Sunday.

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Winnetka man killed in Mt. Waterman skiing accident identified


ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Coroner’s officials have identified a 61-year-old Winnetka man killed in an apparent skiing accident Saturday at Mt. Waterman.
William Robert Eslick Jr. died after striking a tree about 12:30 p.m. while skiing at the mountain, deep in the Angeles National Forest along Highway 2, Los Angeles County coroner’s and sheriff’s officials said.
An autopsy was pending, however investigators noted no initial signs of foul play, sheriff’s Lt. Douglas Mohrhoff said.

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UPDATED: Construction crew severs high-pressure gas line in Whittier


WHITTIER >> Authorities evacuated two business and shut down a portion of Leffingwell Road in Whittier Sunday after a construction crew accidentally severed a high-pressure natural gas line, officials said.
The mishap occurred about 11 a.m. in the parking lot of a business complex at 16553 Leffingwell Road, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
A crew was carrying out work in the parking lot area when they accidentally sheared the gas line, sending natural gas hissing into the air, he said.
Officials evacuated a car wash and another business closest to the leak, shut off the electricity and summoned Southern California Gas Company officials to shut down the leak, the lieutenant said. Leffingwell Road was was in both directions between Jordan Road and Valley Home Avenue.
The leak was stopped and the road reopened by about 2 p.m., Ellis said.

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More than 1,000 marijuana plants found growing inside Diamond Bar home


DIAMOND BAR >> Deputies responding to a report of a possible burglary late Saturday led deputies to discover more than 1,000 marijuana plants growing inside a Diamond Bar home, authorities said.
Officials received a call just before midnight reporting a possible break-in at a two-story house in the 800 block of Rexford Court, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Byron Ward said.
Deputies found no intruder, but saw smoke emanating from the second floor of the home, Ward said.
Los Angeles County firefighters quickly extinguished a small fire, the sergeant said. Authorities found the home had been set up as an indoor marijuana-growing operation, “in excess of 1,000 plants.”
Arson was not suspected, he added. Officials were looking into the possibility the fire was sparked by an electrical issue.
No one was at the home, and no suspects were in custody Sunday in connection with the grow house, Ward said. The investigation was ongoing.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station at 909-595-2264. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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