Downey couple seriously hurt, Long Beach man accused of drugged driving following 605 Freeway crash

NORWALK — A senior citizen couple from Downey suffered major injuries Sunday when their car flipped multiple times on the 605 Freeway in Norwalk after being struck by another car driven by a drugged driver, authorities said.
Victor Manuel Martinez, 22, of Long Beach was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs in connection with the 10:43 a.m. crash on the northbound 605 Freeway at Imperial Highway, California Highway Patrol Officer Monica Posada said.
He was exiting the freeway at Imperial Highway when his vehicle struck the curb, sending it over a dirt shoulder and back onto the freeway, where is collided with another car occupied by the man and wife.
The couple’s car flipped several times, according to CHP and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.
The man and woman, who were estimated to be in their 60s, were taken to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, fire Capt. Richard Weise said. Updates on their conditions were not available, however both were conscious and breathing when hospitalized.
Martinez was examined by paramedics at the scene and taken into custody, officials said.
It was not immediately clear what drug or drugs Martinez is accused of being under the influence of at the time of the crash.
The crash forced the closure of the right three lanes of the northbound 605 Freeway and resulted in a Sig Alert that remained in effect for more than an hour.

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Ex-ice skating coach convicted of child molestation

A Pomona jury convicted a former ice-skating coach Tuesday of molesting a teenage boy and a young girl while living in Hacienda Heights and Downey.
Donald James Vincent, 30, who lived in Torrance when arrested in January of 2013, was ordered to return to Pomona Superior Court Feb. 21 for sentencing, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
“He faces multiple life sentences in state prison,” according to the statement.
The jury deliberated for less than one day before finding Vincent guilty of one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, two counts of lewd acts upon a child, two counts of forcible lewd acts on a child, and five charges relating to sex acts with a child under 10, according to the D.A.’s office.
The charged crimes took place between 2007 and 2011 , while Vincent was living in Hacienda Heights and Downey, D.A.’s officials said.
The charges were related to students he coached at Paramount Iceland in in Paramount, though he also worked at at least six other ice skating rinks throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties in the 7 years leading up to his arrest, according to District Attorney’s and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
They included the East/West Ice Palace in Artesia; Glacial Gardens in Lakewood; Norwalk Ice, which has since closed; Skating Edge Ice Arena in Harbor City; Anaheim Ice in Anaheim; and Ice Town Riverside in Riverside.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Victim Bureau initially jailed Vincent in connection with the molestation of a male student while he was between 12 and 15 years old, Lt. Carlos Marquez said. The molestation came to light two years later when the victim told a friend at a youth camp of the molestation and was persuaded to tell authorities.
At the time of his arrest, officials encouraged any additional victims of Vincent to come forward. And one did, additional charged were later filed in connection with violent acts of molestation against a girl younger than 10 years old.
Vincent remained in custody in lieu of $6 million bail pending trial, officials said. Once convicted, he was ordered held without bail pending sentencing.

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La Puente man, Downey man killed in Pomona freeway crash identified

POMONA — Authorities Thursday released the names of a La Puente man and a Downey man killed in a violent crash between two trucks on a freeway transition road in Pomona.
Jose Antonio Garcia, 25, of La Puente and Jorge Garcia, 61, of Downey died in the crash, which took place about 8:50 a.m. Wednesday on the connector road between the eastbound 60 Freeway and the southbound 71 Freeway, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said.
Jose Garcia was a passenger in a 1999 Chevrolet box truck hauling snack food and change, according to California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials. The truck was being driven by a 34-year-old Riverside man.
Prior to the collision, Jorge Garcia was standing beside his 2010 Volvo big rig, which was parked along the right shoulder with its hazard lights activated and the engine running, CHP Officer Robert Ruiz said in a written statement. He was believed to be standing on the driver-side of the truck, nearest to the roadway.
The driver of the box truck, “allowed his vehicle to drift onto the shoulder of the connector road, where the right front portion of (the box truck) struck the left, rear portion of (the big rig’s) trailer,” Ruiz said.
Jose Garcia was severely injured in the impact, officials said. The out of control box truck continued moving forward and struck Jorge Garcia.
Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.
The box truck came to rest in traffic lanes of the transition road, spilling its entire load into the roadway, fire Capt. Larry Jordan said.
The box truck was nearly unrecognizable, he added. “It looked like it exploded.”
The driver of the box truck was hospitalized with moderate injuries, including lacerated tendons in his arm, officials said.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation.
The connector road remained shut down for about six hours as officers investigated the scene.

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Guard from Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey convicted of assault on teen

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury Wednesday convicted a guard from Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey of an attack on a 13-year-old detainee, officials said.
D’Wayne Jordan, 58, was convicted of assault by a public officer, corporal injury to a child, assault with a deadly weapon and willful cruelty to a child likely to cause great bodily injury, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
The Los Angeles County Probation officer, who worked as a senior detention services officer at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, faces up to six years in prison when he returns to Los Angeles Superior Court for a scheduled sentencing Nov. 3.
Though Jordan has been discharged by the probation department, he has appealed his dismissal, officials added.
Evidence presented at trial showed that a juvenile detainee was sent to an office with Jordan after causing a minor disturbance in his room, according to the district attorney’s office.
“Evidence showed that Jordan allegedly forced the boy to sit on the floor and that Jordan stood over him in a threatening manner,” the statement said. “When the minor raised his hand in defense, Jordan allegedly struck him.
“Jordan allegedly kneed the 13-year-old in the face and pushed his face to the floor,” according to the statement. “The minor, who was 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds at the time, suffered a cut and bruising to his face and broke a front tooth.”
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Natalie Adomian of the district attorney’s Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case.

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Allegedly stolen iguana reunited with burglary victim

Deputies Thursday jailed a Downey man on suspicion of burglary and other crimes and reunited a Bellflower auto shop owner with his pet iguana, which was stolen late last year.
“Lizard” the iguana, which the auto shop owner had kept as a pet for more than 17 years, went missing following a break-in late Dec. 9 or early Dec. 10, 2011, at the auto shop 9800 block of Park Street, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
Other than the reptile, nothing else appeared to have been stolen from the shop, Lt. Steve Sciacca said in a written statement.
Evidence gathered at the scene of the burglary led detective to identify 19-year-old Jesus Alcaraz of Downey as a suspect in the burglary, Sciacca said. Gang investigators from the sheriff’s Lakewood Station recognized Alcaraz from previous encounters.
“Investigators served a search warrant on Alcaraz’s residence in Downey and recovered the victim’s pet iguana, a loaded handgun that was illegally possessed by Alcaraz, marijuana, hashish oil, and gang paraphernalia,” Sciacca said. The iguana was returned to its owner.
According to county booking records, Alcaraz was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in Downey Superior Court.
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Man shot to death in front of family in apparent road rage attack in Downey

This tragic story comes courtesy of City News Service:

DOWNEY — Whoever gunned down a Bellflower man in front of his wife and children in an apparent case of road rage in Downey was at large Sunday, police said.
Juan Pacheco, 28, was shot about 6:30 p.m. Friday on the 105 Freeway while he was merging from the Lakewood Boulevard on-ramp, according to Downey police.
“As the victim was transitioning onto the eastbound 105 freeway from Lakewood Boulevard, a verbal altercation occurred between the victim and the occupants” of a blue 2002 or 2003 Honda Accord with chrome wheels and dark-tinted windows, said Downey police Lt. Phil Rego.
As the two vehicles neared Woodruff Avenue, a passenger in the Honda fired a round that hit the Pacheco in the torso, said Rego.
His wife and two sons, ages 3 and 4, were in the van but were unharmed.
Pacheco managed to stop the van on the side of the freeway and got out before he collapsed, Rego said. He later died at a hospital.
Anyone with information about the fatal shooting was asked to call Downey police at (562) 904-2308.

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