Woman crashes car through Azusa business

CrashAZUSA — A pregnant woman was taken to a hospital but expected to be OK after crashing her car through the front of a business Friday afternoon, police said.
The mishap took place about 2:15 p.m. at Mother’s Nutrition Center in the 400 block of South Azusa Avenue, Azusa police Sgt. Matt Egan said.
The woman apparently mistook the accelerator for the break when her Scion XB lurched forward, smashing through the business’ large front window, Egan said. No on inside was injured.
The driver appeared unharmed but was taken to a hospital for examination, Egan said.
City officials red-tagged the building at least until Monday, when it will be inspected further, he added.

PHOTO by Keith Birmingham

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Teen arrested after leading Azusa police on chase in stolen car

AZUSA — A teenage auto theft suspect led police on a brief chase before being arrested Wednesday, police said.
The chase began just before 10 a.m. when an officer spotted a 1995 Honda Accord that had been reported stolen driving in the area of Foothill Boulevard and Cerritos Avenue , Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni said.
The driver, 17-year-old Azusa boy, failed to pull over and led police on a pursuit for about two miles south on Cerritos Avenue, the sergeant said.
After crashing the Honda into a parked car, the driver continued fleeing on foot into the Monte Carlo Inn, officials said.
He was found during a search of the complex and arrested on suspicion of auto theft, evading police and driving without a license, Madaloni said. The teenage suspect was take to a juvenile hall.

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Azusa officials to test early warning siren

AZUSA — The city of Azusa is planning a test of its early warning siren along Highway 39 at the forest’s edge later this month, officials said.
The siren test will take place between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. June 30, Azusa police Sgt. Sam Fleming said in a written statement. The siren will sound in intervals of approximately five minutes.
In addition to familiarizing local residents with the siren system, the test will ensure the system is operational and that its connections to Azusa’s police dispatch center are working properly, Fleming said.
“The siren is intended to evacuate residents in close proximity to the mouth of the canyon in the event of a forest fire of flood,” Fleming said. “It is not expected that all residents would hear the siren if indoors, which is why the siren is complementary to Emergency Response Personnel announcements, as well as door-to-door notification as part of the City’s Emergency Response Procedures.”
The test is being coordinated by the Azusa Amateur Radio Communications Emergency Services, which is a group of local volunteers who provide emergency communications in the case of a disaster.

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19 arrested in parole/probation compliance sweep in Azusa, Glendora, Covina

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY >> A police task force arrested 19 people and seized drugs, a gun and cash during a parole and probation compliance sweep Friday in Azusa, Glendora and Covina, authorities said.
Members of the San Gabriel Valley East AB 109 Task Force carried out compliance checks of parolees and probationers in Covina, Azusa and Glendora, Pomona police Sgt. Bert Sanchez said in a written statement. The seven-agency task force is based out of the Pomona Police Department.
“The operation included attempting apprehension of identified subjects found to be in violation of their conditions of release, as well as directed crime suppression in known gang, narcotic and high crime ‘hot spots’ within the target areas,” Sanchez said.
The task force targeted 17 locations and netted 19 arrests, including ones for probation or parole violations, drug offenses, weapon possession and existing warrants, Sanchez said.
One loaded gun was seized during the operation, along with 54 grams of drugs and $6,000 in allegedly ill-gotten cash, he added.
Officers from the Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, Glendora, La Verne, West Covina and Pomona police department took part in the sweep, along with probation and parole officials and representatives from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

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Third and final defendant convicted of role in starting the Colby Fire

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A federal jury on Thursday convicted the last of three suspects charged with starting the damaging Colby Fire above Glendora early this year, as officials cautioned that a looming storm poses a potential debris flow threat to the barren hillsides created by the wildfire.
The Los Angeles jury convicted Jonathan Carl Jarrell, a 23-year-old transient, of one felony and one misdemeanor in connection with a campfire that grew out of control on Jan. 16 and became the 1,952-acre wildfire that burned five homes and 17 other structures. One civilian and five firefighters were hurt during the fire.
Jarrell was found guilty of one felony charge of unlawfully setting timber afire, and a misdemeanor charge of illegally starting a fire, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. The jury deadlocked on two additional misdemeanor charges related to the fire.
“As a result of today’s guilty verdicts, Jarrell faces up to five-and-a-half years in federal prison when he is sentenced by United States District Judge George H. Wu on July 31,” Mrozek said.
The final conviction in the three-defendant case came just as Glendora city officials issued a “Yellow Alert” to urge residents to be prepared of the possibility of mud or debris flows in the hillsides denuded by the Colby Fire.
The thunderstorm was expected to hit Palmdale hardest, however officials issued the Yellow Alert, “due to the unpredictability of thunderstorms and the possibility it may go over the Colby Impact Area,” Glendora police officials said in a written statement.
Two friend’s of Jarrell’s were tried separately and each convicted by a federal jury May 16 of one felony count of unlawfully setting timber afire and three other misdemeanor charges related to illegally starting a campfire.
Clifford Eugene Henry, 22, of Glendora and transient Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, each face up to six-and-a-half years in federal prison when they return to court for sentencing Aug. 4, officials said.
“Henry, Aguirre and Jarrell were detained by Glendora police officers after they were seen escaping the fire,” Mrozek said. “During interviews with Glendora Police and personnel with the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Arson Investigations Unit — interviews that the jury heard during the two trials — all three defendants admitted playing a role in the starting of a campfire that started the Colby Fire after wind blew burning paper into the brush in the hills above Glendora.”
The investigation was carried out by the Glendora Police Department, the U.S. Forest Service and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

PHOTO of Jonathan Jarrell: courtesy

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Azusa police cracking down on DUI this month

AZUSA >> Police will be out in force in Azusa this month hunting for intoxicated drivers, with eight nights of special saturation patrols planned before the month’s end, authorities said.
“DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy on eight nights this month between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. in areas with high frequencies of DUI collision and/or arrests,” Azusa police Lt. Paul Dennis said in a written statement.
“Ensuring our city roadways are safe for our commuters is a high priority for the police department,” Police Chief Sam Gonzalez said. “This is a ‘Zero Tolerance’ crackdown so drive sober or get pulled over.”
Two people have died and 47 more were injured in DUI-related crashes in Azusa between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2012, police said.
Funding for the crackdown is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Worker gets hand caught in conveyor belt at Azusa trash sorting facility

AZUSA >> A worker was hospitalized late Friday after getting his hand stuck in a conveyor belt at an Azusa Waste Management trash sorting facility, authorities said.
The incident, which was being investigated as an industrial accident, was reported shortly after 10 p.m. at the Transfer and Material Recovery Facility, 1501 W. Gladstone Street.
The worker apparently got his hand caught in a small gap in a large conveyor belt that was being used to sort paper materials, Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni said.
Due to the noise in the facility, coworkers did not immediately realize what had happened, and the injured worker remained trapped for “an unknown amount of time” before being freed from the conveyor belt, the sergeant said.
The man was in a great deal of pain when taken to a hospital, Madaloni said, however an update on his condition was not available.
Police referred the incident to the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health for investigation.

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Transient accused of smashing windows of Foothill Blvd. business, causing $6,000 in damage

AZUSA >> A 32-year-old transient was behind bars Friday after smashing out the windows of a Foothill Boulevard business with rocks earlier in the week, causing $6,000 worth of damage, police said.
David Firestine was arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism in connection with the incident, Azusa police Sgt. Xavier Torres said in a written statement.
Police responded shortly after 6 p.m. to a report of someone throwing rocks through the windows of a furniture business in the 900 block of West Foothill Boulevard, officials said.
“When officers inspected the business, they found that nearly all the windows to the business had been broken, including the two front glass doors,” Torres said. “Several large rocks were found inside the business. The damage was estimated to be approximately $6,000.”
Six windows on two floors were smashed, in addition to the front doors, Sgt. John Madaloni said
No one was inside the building when the vandalism occurred, Torres added. “The motive for the vandalism is not known.”
Officers quickly found Firestine in the area and arrested him on connection with the crime, police said.
He was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending his initial appearance in West Covina Superior Court.

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Police: Missing APU student found safe at Azusa motel

AZUSA — A 19-year-old Azusa Pacific University freshman who’s been missing since Friday was found Wednesday evening at a motel where he had checked in, authorities said.
Christian Lee Hazel was found unharmed and in good health about 6:30 p.m. at an Azusa motel, Azusa police Sgt. Xavier Torres said. Police declined to say exactly what motel or described the circumstances of Hazel’s disappearance late Wednesday.
Hazel was taken to the home of a relative, where police interviewed him, the sergeant said.
He was believed to be missing of his own accord, and was not believed to be the victim of a crime, he added.
Hazel was supposed to move out of the dormitories at APU Friday and contact his grandfather to pick him up, said his mother, Joanne Fox.
His belongings were found in his dorm room and there were no signs of his credit card being used, his brother, Jesse Feldman said.
His cell phone was found plugged into an outlet in his room, his mother added.
Family members became worried about Hazel, who does not drunk or smoke, and was described as a shy, devout Christian. He had never disappeared unexpectedly before.

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Nine arrested during police sweep of homeless camps in Azusa riverbed

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AZUSA — For the second time in two weeks, Azusa police visited a portion of the San Gabriel riverbed popular among transients as an illegal campground, authorities said. But while campers were merely advised that they were trespassing in the previous visit, police Wednesday made nine arrests.
Police and county officials previously visited the riverbed at the west end of Azusa April 9, Azusa police Officer Mike Bires said. Several encampments were discovered and the campers were offered services and told to clear out of the area, which is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of engineers.
One person initially accepted an offer of resources during the April 9 visit, but later refused the assistance, Bires said.
When authorities returned Wednesday,”Subjects that had been previously advised that it is illegal to trespass and camp in the riverbed were arrested,” Azusa police officials said in a written statement. Some also had pre-existing arrest warrants.
“All persons contacted during this operation were again provided information on resources for the homeless that are available to assist them in relocating out of the riverbed.”
The goal of the operations is to reduce trespassing and illegal camping in the riverbed in order to create a safer, cleaner environment for legal visitors, according to the police statement.
“Furthermore, there has been an increase in the number of brushfires in the area during the last several months and reducing the illegal camping will help to reduce the wildfire danger associated with the makeshift fire pits that are found in the illegal camps,” the statement continued.
Ecological damage and ground water contamination are also a concern, officials said.
Nine men between ages 43 and 64 were arrested on suspicion of trespassing Wednesday, police said. Three of them also had outstanding arrest warrants, and one of them was also accused of providing false information to a peace officer.

PHOTO courtesy of the Azusa Police Department

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