Pasadena police plan checkpoint this weekend

PASADENA >> Police will check drivers for sobriety and valid licenses during a checkpoint this weekend.
The checkpoint will be held from 8 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within Pasadena, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said in a written statement.
“Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed 4 lives and resulted in 70 injury crashes harming 95 of our friends and neighbors,” Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said.
The department’s last checkpoint was held late March 14 into March 15, the night of St. Patrick’s Day.
During that checkpoint, police administered field sobriety tests to 24 drivers, arresting seven on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, Hettema said. Nine drivers were cited for driving without licenses, and one driver was arrested for driving on a suspended license. Six cars were impounded.
Pasadena police held another checkpoint late Feb. 21 into Feb. 22.
In that case, police arrested five drivers on suspicion of DUI and one person due to outstanding warrants, Hettema said.
Twelve drivers were cited for driving without licenses during the February checkpoint, and two were cited for driving on suspended licenses, Hettema said. Two vehicles were impounded.
The checkpoints are funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

56 arrested at La Puente checkpoint

LA PUENTE >> A sheriff’s checkpoint held in La Puente over the weekend resulted in 56 arrests, including one for drunken driving and 41 for motorists driving without valid licenses, officials said Sunday.
The checkpoint was held from 7 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday at Hacienda Boulevard and Temple Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Of 2,481 vehicles that passed through the checkpoint, deputies screened 1,958 of the drivers.
One person was jailed on suspicion of drunken driving and one person was arrested for drug possession, officials said. One driver was arrested due to an outstanding traffic warrant, and 12 drivers were arrested for driving on a revoked or suspended license.
Forty-one motorists were arrested and sent to court for driving without licenses, according to the sheriff’s statement.
Deputies impounded five vehicles for 30 days, and 13 vehicles were stored for one day, officials said. Thirty-five cars were released to licensed drivers under checkpoint procedures.

UPDATED: Woman fatally struck by car in Whittier, driver accused of DUI

WHITTIER — A man was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after he allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian Wednesday night.
The fatal collision on Mar Vista Street and La Sierra Avenue was reported to Whittier police at 8:39 p.m.
Whittier Police Officer Bradley White said a car heading eastbound on Mar Vista Street hit a woman walking in the roadway.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, Lt. Steve Dean said. He said the driver of the Toyota Corolla stayed.
Ed Winter, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, described the pedestrian as a white woman in her 40s, possibly a transient. He didn’t release the woman’s name because her next of kin hasn’t been notified. The autopsy is pending.
The driver, 41-year-old Genaro Gonzalez of Hacienda Heights, was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence, according to White.
Gonzalez was being held at Whittier jail in lieu of $110,000 bail.

- Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

Checkpoint planned this weekend in La Puente

LA PUENTE >> Sheriff’s officials are planning a checkpoint late Friday in La Puente, where the past two such checkpoints have resulted in the arrest of 111 people for driving without a license, as well as three for driving while intoxicated.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station are planning to screen motorists from 7 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within La Puente, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
While the emphasis of the checkpoint is on finding DUI drivers and discouraging others from committing the crime, according to the statement, “Deputies will also check drivers for proper licensing and will strive to delay motorists only momentarily.”
The sheriff’s Industry Station provides law enforcement services to the cities of Industry and La Puente, as well as nearby unincorporated county areas including Hacienda Heights, Valinda, East Valinda and Bassett.
But the last two checkpoints held by the station have been in La Puente.
“Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety to officers and the public,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
During a checkpoint held overnight Feb. 21 and 22, deputies arrested more than 70 people, officials announced. Two drivers were jailed on suspicion of DUI, and one person was accused of driving without a court-ordered ignition interlock device. But the vast majority of arrests, at 55, were for driving without licenses.
At another La Puente checkpoint held overnight Dec. 21 and 22, deputies also arrested more than 70 people. One of the arrests was for DUI, while 56 were for driving without a license.
Funding for the checkpoints is provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Officials to stage fatal car crash to caution Pasadena teens of the dangers of DUI

PASADENA >> Officials plan to stage an elaborate and realistic-looking car crash scene in front of La Salle High School Thursday to educate teens on the dangers of drinking and driving ahead of next week’s prom, authorities said.
The “Every 15 Minutes” program will take place beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, and will require the closure of eastbound SIerra Madre Boulevard from Hastings Ranch Road to Michillinda Avenue through 10:30 a.m., Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said in a written statement.
“A realistic mock fatal collision will be staged in front of the school on Sierra Madre Boulevard, just west of Michillinda Avenue,” Hettema said. “Students will be directed to the collision scene and view participating fellow students involved in the ‘tragedy,’”
Members of the public are invited to observe the mock crash scene, as well.
“Over the course of two days, students will experience the ‘grim reaper’ of death, staged loss of fellow classmates and family grief as student participants and their families share their obituaries and deepest thoughts on the subject of drinking and driving,” Hettema said.
In addition to Pasadena police, the Pasadena Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner and Huntington Hospital will take part in the demonstration. A similar demonstration is held at a Pasadena High School annually.
The program began in 1995, when officials noted there was a DUI-related fatality every 15 minutes.
Since then, organizers said, that statistic has been reduced to one death every 51 minutes.
Funding is bring provided by State Farm Insurance.

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.

Police: Whittier man accused of DUI following 3 hit-and-runs in Irwindale

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IRWINDALE — Police, aided by a good Samaritan, arrested an intoxicated driver after he fled the scenes of several crashes, including one that sheared a fire hydrant, sending a geyser of water erupting into the air, officials said.
Daniel Lopez, 39, was booked on suspicion of intoxicated driving and hit-and-run following the series of crashes, which took place shortly after 4 p.m., Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said.
“Irwindale police dispatch received a call from a citizen advising they were following a drunk driver who had just hit a fire hydrant,” the sergeant said.
The sheared off hydrant sent water spewing high into the air at the northwest corner of Arrow Highway and 4th Street, Zendejas said.
But the white cargo van continued driving as the caller reported its position to police, he said.
The van made a U-turn on Irwindale Avenue at Ornelas Street and struck a light pole, Zendejas said. But the driver continued on.
The van struck a fixed object at a gas station at Irwindale Avenue and Arrow Highway just before police caught up with it, Zendejas said. Police stopped the driver as he drove back toward the sheared hydrant and became caught in the traffic it created.
Officers determined Lopez was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both, and placed him under arrest.
Zendejas commended the witness for calling police and helping direct them to the driver.
According to county booking records, Lopez was released from jail on $5,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

PHOTO courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department

La Mirada checkpoint nets 14 arrests, two of them for DUI

LA MIRADA — Deputies arrested two alleged drunken drivers during a checkpoint late Saturday and early Sunday, authorities said.
The checkpoint was held from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Imperial Highway at Santa Gertrudes Avenue, officials from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Norwalk Station said in a written statement.
Of the more than 1,500 cars that passed through the checkpoint, deputies screened 1,281 drivers.
In addition to the two drunken driving arrests, deputies arrested five people for driving on suspended or revoked licenses and seven people for driving without licenses, according to the sheriff’s department statement.
Four vehicles were impounded for 30 days during the checkpoint, and seven vehicles were stored for one day, officials said. Three cars were released to license drivers during the checkpoint.
Deputies at the neighboring sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station also held a checkpoint Saturday night, the Whittier Police Department held one late Friday. Results from those checkpoints were not available Sunday.

Five DUI suspects arrested during Arcadia checkpoint

ARCADIA — Police arrested five people on suspicion of drunken driving during a checkpoint held late Saturday and early Sunday, officials said.
The checkpoint took place from 9 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday along Baldwin Avenue at Gate 8 of the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, according to Arcadia police Sgt. Brett Bourgeous.
Nearly 3,000 cars passed through the checkpoint, and officers screened 2,057 drivers, the sergeant said.
Officers administered 12 field sobriety tests, ultimately arresting for adults on suspicion of drunken driving, he said. A minor was also arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Another driver was cited for having an open container of alcohol inside a vehicle, police said.
Two people were arrested due to outstanding traffic warrants, Bourgeous said. Twelve drivers were cited for driving without a valid license, and five motorists were arrested or cited for driving on suspended licenses.
Police impounded five vehicles for 30 days, and seven vehicles for one day.
Police in nearby Pasadena also hosted a checkpoint in that city late Friday into early Saturday, however the results of the checkpoint were not available Sunday.

St. Patrick’s Day weekend DUI crackdown: checkpoints planned in Whittier, Pico Rivera, Arcadia, Pasadena unincorporated West Covina

LOS ANGELES COUNTY >> Law enforcement officers throughout Los Angeles County are gearing up for checkpoints and extra patrols seeking intoxicated drivers this St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
Checkpoints in Whittier, Pico Rivera, Arcadia, Pasadena and the unincorporated county area of West Covina are just five of the 13 checkpoints taking place this weekend in the county, along with 87 roving DUI patrols, according to representatives of the task force of law enforcement agencies collectively known as “Avoid the 100.”
“When you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, just be smart about it,” Glendora police Chief Tim Staab said in a written statement. “If you know you’re going to drink, whether with friends at a pub or attending a party designate a sober driver ahead of time or call a taxi to make sure you get home safely.”
According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one person died every 53 minutes in a DUI-related crash in the United States in 2011.
“Most of these crashes involved drunk drivers who had blood-alcohol concentrations of .15 or higher, almost twice the legal limit of .08,” the task force statement said.
Whittier police are planning a checkpoint Friday night into Saturday morning within Whittier, according to Whittier police Sgt. Rob Hanson.
Pasadena police are also planning checkpoint Friday, as well as extra patrols to seek DUI drivers on St. Patrick’s Day, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
Arcadia police have announced plans to hold a checkpoint late Saturday into early Saturday within that city, Arcadia police Sgt. Brett Bourgeous said.
Sheriff’s deputies in Pico Rivera and California Highway Patrol officers in the unincorporated county area near West Covina will also hold a checkpoint late Saturday into Sunday, according to officials from each agency.
All of the checkpoints and additional patrols are being funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.