A car crash prompted triggered a radiation scare and a response from a hazardous materials crew, though the source of the radiation was ultimately determined to be a harmless took stored in once of the crashed vehicles, authorities said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire officials responded en masse to a reported crash involving radioactive hazardous materials about 1:30 p.m. on Huntington Drive and Las Lomas Road. The crash involved a sedan, a minivan and a parked vehicle.
Rescuers who first responded to the crash found the driver of the sedan injured and unable to speak, fire Inspector Scott Miller said.
“Upon helping him out, we discovered a box that said “radioactive.”
Deputies and firefighters immediately backed away from the box and summoned a fire department hazmat crew, officials said.
Inspector Keith Mora said a “hot zone” was established within 300 feet of the vehicle, in which only officials wearing protective gear were permitted to enter.
A convenience store near the crash scene was evacuated, and employees of other nearby businesses were advised to stay inside as officials continued investigating.
The hazmat team arrived about 45 minutes after the crash, Miller said.
After examining the box, officials found it contained a device used to test for radioactivity, Miller said. In order to work, the device possesses a small amount of “background radiation,” itself, though it did rise to the level of a health concern.
“That’s an extremely low level,” Miller said.
The 31-year-old man who was driving the sedan that contained the mildly radioactive device, who was “incoherent” immediately following the crash, was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in unknown condition, sheriff’s Sgt. Loy McBride said.
The driver of the minivan was unhurt, and there was no one inside the parked car, Miller added.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station.
A man struck two bicyclists — one of them intentionally — with his car in Monrovia early Saturday, as well as the car of two good Samaritans who followed him as he fled the scene, authorities said.
Anthony Pina, 19, of Glendora was booked on suspicion of drunken driving and felony hit-and-run following the nearly fatal chain of events that unfolded just before 6 a.m., according to Monrovia police and California Highway Patrol officials. Charges including attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon were also expected to be sought against Pina.
He was behind the wheel of a Buick sedan that struck and badly injured a 63-year-old Duarte man who was riding a bicycle at Huntington Drive and Mountain Avenue, Monrovia police Lt. Jaime Alfaro said.
“The investigation indicated the hit and run was not an accident, but was an intentional act by Mr. Pina,” Alfaro said.
The injured bicyclist was initially hospitalized in critical condition, but stabilized after undergoing surgery, Lt. Michael Lee said.
Pina turned “donuts” around the bicyclist before driving directly into him, Alfaro said.
The victim told investigators Pina had also tried unsuccessfully to strike him with his car moments earlier at Mountain Avenue and Royal Oaks Drive, the lieutenant added. The men did not appear to know each other prior to Saturday’s encounter, and a motive in the alleged attack was unclear.
Officers soon learned that Pina’s 1997 Buick Regal matched the description of one that had struck and injured another bicyclist five to ten minutes earlier at Mountain and Shrode avenues in an unincorporated county area just outside Monrovia, CHP Sgt. Chris Hamilton said.
In that collision, Pina’s car struck a 46-year-old El Monte man, inflicting moderate injuries, the sergeant said. There was no indication that crash was intentional, however Pina allegedly fled the scene.
After the car struck the 63-year-old man, two men inside a brand new Mini Cooper saw who had seen what had happened followed Pina onto the eastbound 210 Freeway while calling authorities, officials said.
“At some point, Mr. Pina discovered he was being followed by a vehicle and pulled over,” Alfaro said. The Mini Cooper containing the good Samaritans drove past the Buick as they approached Vernon Avenue in Azusa.
“Pina then collided into their vehicle,” Alfaro said.
The Mini Cooper sustained only minor damage in the collision, and the two men inside were unhurt, Hamilton said.
Pina’s Buick then struck the center divider, causing it flip over, the sergeant said.
Pina got out of the damaged Buick and ran, Hamilton said, but was captured within minutes by an Azusa police officer.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Pina was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
DUARTE — Deputies are seeking two attackers who shot and wounded a 19-year-old man Sunday afternoon.
The shooting took place about 12:45 p.m. at Pamela Road and Broderick Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Ann Devane said.
But deputies did not learn of it until a short time later, when a family member of the wounded man brought him to Huntington Hospital in Arcadia, officials said.
He had suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the buttocks, Devane said.
The suspects were initially described as two male attackers in a red vehicle, she said.
A motive was unclear, and the investigation was ongoing.
DUARTE — A pet pit bull-mastiff mix suffered a minor wound but was expected to be okay after a close encounter with a bear cub and it’s protective mother Sunday, authorities said.
The incident took place shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Mount Olive Drive, near Spinks Canyon Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Lynette O’Brien said.
A large bear and two cubs hopped a fence and made their way into a residential backyard occupied by two large dogs, Sgt. Ann Devane said. One was a pit bull-mastiff mix, and the other was a German shepherd.
The pit bull-mastiff mix went after one of the cubs, which did not please the cub’s mother, Devane said.
The mother bear bit the dog, inflicting only a superficial injury to the animals back, she added. The second dog was not injured.
Following the brief scuffle, the three bears made their way back into the wilderness.
DUARTE — A man suffered major injuries in a solo-car crash on the 210 Freeway early Saturday, authorities said.
The crash was first reported at 8:09 a.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway, just west of the 605 Freeway, California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs said.
A car smashed into the center divider, leaving the 63-year-old driver, “unconscious and bleeding profusely,” the officer said.
He was taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena for treatment, Jacobs said. An update on his condition was not available.
Officials shut down the two right lanes of the westbound 210 Freeway during the rescue effort and investigation, he said.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by officers from the CHP’s Baldwin Park office, Jacobs added.
Deputies arrested a man Thursday following a series of five baseball bat robberies at San Gabriel Valley convenience stores in matter of hours, authorities said.
Malcom Buchanan, 19, of Duarte was booked in connection with the final robbery in Thursday’s spree at a gas station in unincorporated East Pasadena as officials continued investigating him in connection with the other four robberies, police and sheriff’s officials said.
While a concrete link had not been established Thursday afternoon, ““They’re definitely looking into it,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ignacio Somoano said.
The string of robberies began shortly after midnight at a 7-Eleven store in San Dimas, investigators said. Similar robberies and attempted robberies were then reported in West Covina, Monrovia, Arcadia and unincorporated Pasadena before deputies spotted a car matching the description of one used in at least one of the robberies was spotted, stopped and arrested by deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station in Duarte, sheriff’s Sgt. Lynette O’Brien said.
Sgt. Pete Shupe of the sheriff’s San Dimas station said masked robber entered the 7-Eleven at 660 E. Foothill Blvd. at 12:11 a.m.
He found a clerk working in a back stockroom, Lt. Andy Berg said.
The bat-wielding robber ordered the clerk to the front of the store and demanded cash from the register, officials said.
When the clerk opened the register, he said the robber reached in, took $200 and fled the store.
About half an hour later, a masked man lugging a baseball bat then showed up at the 7-Eleven at 1319 W. Merced Ave. in West Covina around 12:42 a.m.
“He told the clerk ‘Give me the money’ while holding the bat threateningly,” West Covina Police Lt. David Lee said.
The robber grabbed about $350 from the till and left.
Lee said the suspect was last seen in a white vehicle, possibly a van or a sport utility vehicle. A second suspect was driving the vehicle.
The robber was described as possibly Latino, around 5 feet 5 inches tall and about 150 pounds.
In the San Dimas case, the robber wore a gray jacket, officials said.
Initial investigation indicated the same robber was involved in both crimes, Berg said.
Nearly 11 hours passed before three more incidents of convenience store robberies involving a suspect armed with a baseball bat were reported.
Monrovia police responded to a report of a similar robbery about 11:25 a.m. at 7-Eleven, 922 W. Duarte Road, officials said. Again, the robber brandished a baseball bat during the crime.
A witness to the Monrovia crime was able to provide police with a description and license plate of the getaway car, which was immediately broadcast to nearby law enforcement agencies.
Another attempted heist involving a baseball bat wielding suspect occurred minutes later at a liquor store in the 800 block of West Huntington Drive in Arcadia, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
It was unclear what caused him to abandon the robbery attempt and flee empty-handed.
Minutes after the Arcadia crime, a man with a baseball bat arrived at a gas station at Colorado Boulevard and Michillinda Avenue in an unincorporated county area east of Pasadena, O’Brien said.
A witness provided investigators with the license plate number of the getaway car, and deputies spotted the vehicle
Deputies searching the area spotted the vehicle and pulled it over on Bashor Street near Vineyard Avenue in Duarte about noon.
There was no description of a second robber who may have partnered with the suspect in at least some of the alleged crimes.
The robbery in San Dimas capped off a particularly unfortunate month for the convenience store.
It was the third incident at the store in recent weeks, which has also experienced another robbery, as well as a car crashing through the front window, officials said. The same clerk was working during all three incidents.
A man brandished a pistol in a robbery at the store on May 14, Berg said. He was described as black, 25 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds, investigators said. He wore a dark green hooded sweatshirt and black pants.
A car Sunday smashed through the front window of the Foothill Boulevard convenience store, officials said.
No crime was suspected in connection with the crash, in which a 50-year-old San Dimas man’s 1990 Honda Accord struck the store after his foot slipped off the brake pedal and onto the accelerator, Sgt. Victor Ibarra said.
– Staff writers Ruby Gonzales and Melissa Pinion-Whit contributed to this report.
DUARTE – A young bear may have used a window to crawl into a kitchen where it grabbed a snack Wednesday.
The break-in happened about 2 p.m. in the 70 block of Crestview Court. A resident was home.
“The lady heard a noise and saw a bear had made it into her house,” Sheriff’s Lt. Ignacio Somoano said.
He said the woman locked herself in a room and called 9-1-1.
A deputy and a Duarte Animal Control officer headed to Crestview Court. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife was also notified.
The law found the furry burglar on the kitchen counter still eating.
Somoano said the deputy left the door open. Then the deputy and the animal control officer made loud noises. The bear ran out through the door.
Authorities estimate the bear to be a year old and weighing 100 pounds.
Somoano didn’t know if this hungry bear was the same bruin found sleeping in a tree Tuesday night by deputies.
– Ruby Gonzales
AZUSA — A 76-year-old Azusa woman with Alzheimer’s who went missing after going for a walk Friday afternoon was found disoriented but safe in Duarte Friday night, authorities said.
Carolyn Davis didn’t return home after leaving for her daily walk to Northside Park about 2 p.m., according to Azusa police Sgt. Randy Schmidt.
Police released a photo of Davis and sought the public’s help in locating her.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station found her after responding to reports of a possibly drunken trespasser sleeping in a bush at a retirement home in the 1400 block of Santo Domingo Avenue in Duarte, sheriff’s Sgt. Lynette O’Brien said.
The responding deputies realized the woman was the senior reported missing out of Azusa and notified Azusa police, who picked her up and returned her home.
DUARTE — A woman in her 70s died after being struck by a car on Huntington Drive early Friday, authorities said.
The incident was reported just after 6 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of Huntington near Highland Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jorge Marchena said.
The woman in her 20s who was driving the sedan that struck the pedestrian remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, officials said.
It initially appeared the woman, a resident of a nearby retirement home, crossed the street mid-block, just west of Highland, Sgt. A. Ben-Sahile said.
The ccollision remained under investigation, he said, however nothing criminal was initially suspected, and the driver was not cited or arrested.
DUARTE — A couple were injured after a fire broke out at a local motel Tuesday night.
Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Mark Sotelo said the fire was restricted to one unit but caused minor smoke damage to another unit. He estimated damages at $75,000.
The sheriff’s arson investigators are looking into what started the fire, Sotelo said.
It happened at Rancho Inn, 1515 Huntington Drive, at 5:54 p.m.
There were two people in the unit where the fire occurred. Sotelo said a man suffered from second degree burns and smoke inhalation while a woman was treated for smoke inhalation.
Sotelo said the two were taken to Methodist Hospital of Southern California and were listed in stable condition.
About 45 firefighters responded to the first alarm fire which was knocked down at 6:30 p.m.
– Ruby Gonzales