PASADENA — A crash involving an overturned big rig blocked traffic for westbound motorists on the 210 Freeway through Pasadena Saturday morning, officials said.
The crash took place shortly before 10 a.m. on the transition road connecting the westbound 210 Freeway to the continued westbound 210 Freeway at the 134 Freeway interchange, California Highway Patrol Officer Jennifer Cassidy said.
There was no initial word regarding potential injuries.
Officials issued a Sig Alert for both lanes of the transition road that remained in effect until about 1:30 p.m.
WEST COVINA — The California Highway Patrol is joining with California Pizza Kitchen next week to collect toys for needy children this holiday season.
Those who bring a new, unwrapped toy to the CPK at 110 South California Avenue in West Covina Tuesday will receive a free starter plate, CHP officials said in a written statement.
The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the toys will go to the CHP’s annual CHiPs for Kids campaign.
For more information, contact CPK in West Covina at 626-814-4400.
AZUSA — Investigators an grieving family members renewed their public plea for information Wednesday for information leading to a hit-and-run driver who fatally struck a 52-year-old Nurse from Azusa last week.
Aguida Luna died at a hospital about two hours after the 5:30 a.m. Nov. 27 collision on Citrus Avenue, just north of Laxford Road in a unincorporated county area near Azusa, California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said.
In keeping with her daily routine, Luna had been waiting for a bus to take her to train station en route to work in Glendale when she was struck by a 1994 to 1997 Acura Integra, which then fled the scene, CHP Officer Lee Kendig said.
Her sacked lunch was found on the bus bench where she usually waits, and it was unclear why she was in the roadway, Kendig said.
Family members Wednesday urged anyone with information on the fatal hit-and-run to come forward to help them find justice.
“This was a heinous act, and I can’t imagine what kind of monster could leave a body in the middle of the street, not stopping to aid or call for help,” Luna’s sister-in-law, Carla Azera said.
“This person took away one extraordinary person,” Azera said. “She was a nurse. She made a difference every day to others. She was a cancer survivor — breast cancer. She was a devoted, loyal and caring wife and step-mother.”
Luna’s husband, Marcus Luna, was devastated by the loss, but took solace in his faith,” the sister-in-law said. “He finds comfort in knowing that she’s in a better place, and that God will pass judgement and justice.”
Aguida Luna grew up in the Philippines and migrated to the San Gabriel Valley in 2003, family members said. She worked as the director of nurses at the Royal Palms Convalescent Hospital in Glendale, where family members said she was missed by colleagues and patients alike.
She is survived by four step-children, including a high school-age son who lived with her and her husband, brother-in-law Herman Azera said.
“We’ve been doing a lot of investigation and we have not had very good leads up to this point, so we’re asking that the public help us out,” Jimenez said.
A fender wall and pieces of headlight left behind at the scene allowed officers to determine the model and approximate year of the involved vehicle.
Officers hope a witness who observed a similar car with damage “most likely on the left front of the vehicle” was asked to contact investigators. Officers were also hopeful area surveillance camera footage provided by neighbors or businesses could yield clues, as well as any auto shops where the hit-and-run driver may have sought to have the damage repaired.
Family members thanked a passer-by who stopped to help Luna after discovering her wounded in the street, as well as the driver of her shuttle bus, who pulled over and began looking for her when he did not find her at her usual stop.
“It’s been hard for us. So many lives have been affected,” said Luna’s mother-in-law, Felicidad McIntosh.
“I’m appealing to you as a mother,” she said. If anyone had information, she said, “Please don’t hesitate to call the CHP in Baldwin Park.
The CHP’s Baldwin Park office can be reached during normal business hours at 626-338-1164. After hours, the CHP can be reached at 323-259-2010.
PHOTO of Aguida Luna courtesy of family members.
LA VERNE — A California Highway Patrol officer helped restore the pulse of a man who had apparently suffered a heart attack while riding as a passenger in a minivan on the 210 Freeway, officials said.
CHP Officer Ruth Rodriguez responded to a medical emergency call about 11 a.m. when she encountered the couple stopped in their 2013 Honda Odyssey, California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said in a written statement. The passenger, 81-year-old Dimitri Cocea, was unconscious and unresponsive.
“Mr. Cocea’s wife informed Officer Rodriguez that Mr. Cocea was having a heart attack. Officer Rodriguez checked for vitals and could not find a pulse and Mr. Cocea was not breathing,” Jimenez said.
“Officer Rodriguez then began chest compressions in an attempt to resuscitate Mr. Cocea,” he said. Due to Mr. Cocea’s position within the vehicle, Officer Rodriguez was not able to perform rescue breathing. Officer Rodriguez continued chest compressions until she was relieved by Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel.”
Paramedics rushed Cocea to a the Pomona Valley Medical Center, where he arrived with a pulse, the officer said. “Mr. Cocea is alive due to the rescue efforts of Officer Ruth Rodriguez.”
MONROVIA — Seven people went to the hospital early Saturday after a car containing a family crashed into another car that was disabled with a flat tire on the 210 Freeway in Monrovia, authorities said.
The crash took place just after 5 a.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway, just east of Huntington Drive, California Highway Patrol officer Ed Jacobs said.
A 20-year-old Ontario man was driving a Volkswagen Jetta when it became disabled with a tire in the carpool lane, CHP Acting Sergeant Robyn Madeira said. His passenger, a 21-year-old El Monte man, exited the car and was standing in front of it when it was struck from behind by a Toyota Camry.
The impact pushed the Jetta forward, in turn striking the El Monte man, Madeira said. He suffered facial lacerations and other injuries but was alert when taken to a hospital where he was listed in stable condition.
The driver of the disabled Jetta suffered minor injuries and was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, the sergeant said, though his alleged intoxication was not suspected to have played a role in the crash.
The Camry that struck the disabled Jetta contained a Cathedral City family of five, Madeira said. A man who was driving and his wife suffered minor injuries. Two daughters, ages 17 and 24, suffered moderate injuries, and an 8-year-old son suffered minor injuries.
Two of the patients were unconscious immediately following the crash, according to CHP logs.
Madeira said the investigation had not turned up evidence of reckless driving or high speed involved in the crash, as was initially reported to the CHP by at least one 9-1-1 caller to the CHP.
The crash prompted officials to issue a Sig Alert on the westbound 210 Freeway through 6:38 a.m., according to CHP logs.
Officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP were handling the investigation.
LOS ANGELES — Two young women died and three other young women were badly injured, including the driver who is accused of intoxicated driving, in a solo-car crash early Sunday on the 110 Freeway, authorities said.
Passengers Blanca Belman Almanza, 23, and Ana Cuadra, 22, both of Los Angeles, died at the scene of the 1:30 a.m. collision on the northbound 110 Freeway, just south of Avenue 52, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said.
A 22-year-old San Gabriel woman was at the wheel of a 2011 Nissan Sentra with four other young women as passengers when the crash occurred, she said.
The car left the road and struck a chain link fence and a tree, CHP Officer Monica Posada said. Injured patients had to be cut free from the wreckage by firefighters.
Belman Almanza and Cuadra were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, Posada said. The driver and two other passengers, described as 23-year-old Los Angeles women, were hospitalized with major injuries.
The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Posada said. Her name was not available Sunday as she remained hospitalized.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by officers from the Central Los Angeles Office of the CHP.
A tanker trunk burst into flames on the 710 Freeway in Commerce, injuring two people, destroying a total of seven vehicles and forcing the closure of all southbound lanes, authorities said.
The incident was first reported at 9:37 a.m. as a double-wide tanker trunk that had tipped onto its side and caught fire on the southbound 710 Freeway, at the Washington Boulevard overpass, according to California Highway Patrol logs. It was not initially clear if any other vehicles were involved in the crash.
Firefighters arrived to find the flaming truck “hanging over the side of the freeway,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Brian Jordan said.
The tanker fire quickly grew to massive proportions, prompting authorities to evacuate nearby homes as a precaution.
No homes caught fire, however the burning tanker truck and crude oil that spilled out of it set six other vehicles on fire on Washington Boulevard below the freeway, Jordan said. They included five passenger vehicles and one commercial truck.
“There was fire on the freeway, fire on the ground below,” Jordan said.“Crude oil inside the truck caught fire. Crude oil went down the storm drain, onto the street.”
Both directions of Washington Boulevard became covered with burning oil.
Though CHP logs indicated the tanker truck driver, a man in his 30s, was feared burned and seriously injured, he was ultimately taken to a hospital with injuries described as minor to moderate, Jordan said.
Another man who was also in his 30s who had been walking near scene when the fiery crash occurred was hospitalized for minor to moderate injuries, Jordan added. The type of injuries the man suffered was not clear.
Caltrans officials were summoned to the scene to inspect the overpass to see if it had been compromised by the fire, CHP Officer Monica Posada said.
The northbound lanes of the 710 Freeway near the crash scene was shut down for about an hour following the fire, Posada said. The southbound lanes were expected to remain closed well into the afternoon.
Officers from the East Los Angeles office of the CHP were handling the investigation.
The California Highway Patrol plans to crack down on motorcycle safety Memorial Day weekend on Angeles Crest Highway and 10 Freeway, which have been identified by officials as two of the most dangerous roads for motorcyclists in Los Angeles County.
Officers will be out in force on the two roads Sunday looking for violations by both motorcyclists and drivers that pose a danger to two-wheeled travelers, CHP officials said in a a written statement.
The CHP recently received a grant to beef up patrols dealing with motorcycle safety.
“In Los Angeles County, State Route 2 and Interstate 10 have been identified as having the highest number of collisions involving motorcyclists, some fatal,” according to the CHP statement.
“Whether the cause of a collision is by a driver of a vehicle or the rider of a motorcycle, the rider always loses,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said.
“The goal of this increased enforcement is to save lives,” CHP Southern Division Chief Dan Bower added. “Every officer responding to a collision involving a motorcyclist fears the worst. Many riders do not wear proper protective equipment, which increases the likelihood of injury or death.”
The extra enforcement is being funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Administration.
CALIFORNIA — Statewide arrests for intoxicated driving were down compared with last year, but traffic fatalities were up, during the first 60 hours of the long Thanksgiving weekend, according to the California Highway Patrol.
CHP Officers arrested 840 people on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol between 6:01 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Saturday, CHP officials said in a written statement. Officers arrested 903 people on suspicion of intoxicated driving during the same time period last year.
Seventeen people died in crashes during the reporting period, compared with 14 in 2011, CHP officials said.
COVINA — California Highway Patrol officers are planning to screen drivers for sobriety and licenses during a checkpoint late Saturday.
The checkpoint will begin at 6 p.m. at an undisclosed location in the unincorporated county area near Covina, CHP officials announced in a written statement.
Traffic permitting, officers plan to check every vehicle, officials said. If traffic becomes to heavy to allow that, officers will switch to a pre-set standard, such as every third car or every fifth car, to ensure objectivity.