Valinda man convicted of injury DUI crash during West Covina police chase

A jury convicted a A Valinda man of drunken driving and leading West Covina police on a pursuit that ended in a crash that left 10 people hurt, officials said.
The Pomona jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Robert Anthony Lopez, 27, guilty of fleeing police in a motor vehicle resulting in serious bodily injury, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury within 10 years of a previous DUI offense and driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent causing injury within 10 years of a previous DUI offense, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in an email. He pleaded “no contest” earlier to driving on a suspended or revoked license following a previous offense.
Nine innocent bystanders, as well as Lopez himself, suffered injuries in the July 18, 2016, crash at Francisquito and Walnut avenues, in the unincorporated county area of Valinda.
He faces up to 24 years behind bars when he returns to the Pomona Branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Ardalani said.
The chase started in West Covina, where police tried to pull Lopez over in an Acura for speeding and blowing through a stop sign, Ardalani said in a written statement.
Lopez ultimately crashed into a Nissan Maxima, which spun out of control and struck a Ford Expedition,
A woman inside the Nissan and her to young daughters were hurt, along with a drive and five passengers inside the Ford, California Highway Patrol officials said.
Firefighters had to free freed Lopez from his mangled car, officials said.
According to prosecutors, Lopez was previously convicted of reckless driving and driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent in 2015.

PHOTO courtesy Saul Sanchez

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Police plan checkpoint in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Police are planning to hold a sobriety and driver license checkpoint next weekend.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. on July 14 to 2:30 a.m. the following morning at an undisclosed location within the city, Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years, seven people have died and another 117 suffered injuries in DUI-related collision in Pasadena, police said.
Police remind motorisits that in addition to alcohol, officers will be on the lookout for any drivers impaired by any substance, including prescription medications or marijuana.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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DUI suspect surrenders to police in the nude following pursuit from Monrovia to Covina


A Covina man allegedly high on drugs led Monrovia police on a pursuit before driving home, barricaded himself inside, taking a shower, then surrendering to police in the buff on Saturday night, authorities said.
The incident just after 8 p.m. when a witness flagged down a Monrovia police officer to report seeing a possible intoxicated driver, Monrovia police Sgt. Glen Coleman said.
Officers soon found the car, driving on the wrong side of the road, and tried to pull it over, he said. The driver refused to yield, initiating a chase.
The fleeing suspect drove through red lights and ultimately made his way into the eastbound 210 Freeway, according to the sergeant.
He exited the freeway and drove to his home along Cloverland Drive, near Mesarica Road, in the unincorporated county area near Covina, officials said.
The driver entered the home and refused officer’s orders to surrender, Coleman said. He took a shower, then surrendered to police about 45 minutes later, wearing only a towel.
Brian Robert Borland, 28, who was suspected to be under the influence of an unknown drug, was booked on suspicion of DUI and evading police, Coleman said.
Police in Sierra Madre had pulled Borland over a short time before the chase began in Monrovia, but he fled from officers and was not found, authorities said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Borland was being held in lieu of $155,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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Whittier checkpoint nets 1 arrest, 16 citations


WHITTIER >> Police arrested one suspected drunken driver and issued 16 citations during a checkpoint in Whittier late Friday and early Saturday, police said.
The checkpoint was held along Mulberry Drive, just east of Santa Fe Springs Road, at the southwest edge of the city, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
Officers arrested on driver on suspicion of DUI, police said. Sixteen more were “arrested and released on citations” for driving without licenses, or with suspended or revoked licenses.

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Police plan checkpoint in San Gabriel

SAN GABRIEL >> Police will be screening drivers for sobriety and valid licenses during a checkpoint in San Gabriel on Friday night, officials said.
The checkpoint will take place fro 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, San Gabriel police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years, 72 DUI-related collision have left one person dead and 25 others injured, police said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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Police plan Friday night checkpoint in Whittier

WHITTIER >> Police are planning to hold a sobriety and driver license checkpoint in Whittier Friday night.
The checkpoint is ton be held from 7 p.m. Friday to 2:30 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“Over the course of the past three years, the Whittier PD officers have investigated 344 DUI collisions which have claimed four lives and resulted in another 66 injuries,” according to the statement.
“The Whittier Police Department supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that ‘DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.’ If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.”
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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Arcadia man accused of DUI, hit-and-run following Pasadena crash


PASADENA >> An Arcadia man in a pickup truck blew through a red light while drunk, injuring a man and girl in a crash, then fled the scene late Thursday, authorities said.
Steve DiMartino, 46, was booked on suspicion of felony drunken driving and felony hit-and-run following the 11:05 p.m. crash at Green Street and Lake Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
DiMartino was at the wheel of a pickup truck that ran a red light on eastbound Green Street at Lake Avenue and collided with a Honda sedan, according to the lieutenant.
The driver of the Honda, a man in his 30s, and his passenger, a young girl, both suffered non-life-threatening injuries, he said. The man appeared to have suffered head injuries, and the girl’s injuries were included a bruised lung and lacerations to her face.
The pickup truck fled the scene of the crash, police said.
An off-duty police officer spotted the damaged car soon after, driving in the area of Washington Boulevard and Holliston Avenue, Mercado said. He thought the freshly damaged truck looked suspicious and reported the sighting to on-duty police.
“On-duty officers responded to the scene, stopped the car and found that he was intoxicated,” Mercado said.
According to county booking records, DiMartino was released from jail Friday afternoon pending his initial court appearance after posting $100,000 bail.

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Man and woman seriously injured in suspected DUI crash in La Habra


LA HABRA >> Police suspect intoxicated driving played a role in a three-vehicle crash at Beach Boulevard and Imperial Highway that sent two people to a hospital with serious injuries early Wednesday, authorities said.
The collision took place about 3 a.m., La Habra police officials said. It primarily involved a 2002 Toyota Camry and a 2004 Toyota Solara, police said in a written statement. A 2008 Dodge Charger also became involved in the wreck.
“Based on the preliminary investigation, it appears that the driver of the Camry was traveling southbound on Beach Boulevard when he entered the intersection,” according to the statement. “The driver of the Solara was traveling east bound on Imperial Highway and the driver of the Charger was traveling westbound on Imperial Highway.”
Paramedics took the driver of the Camry, a man in his late-20s, to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition, La Habra police Lt. Jeff Baylos said. The woman at the wheel of the Solara, who was also described as being in her late-20s, was treated for injuries that were serious, but not believed to be life-threatening. The driver of the Charger was unhurt.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, Lt. Jeff Baylos said. But police suspected drunken driving on the part of the Camry driver, and were looking into the possibility the Solara driver was intoxicated as well.
No arrests had been made Wednesday afternoon as the investigation continued.

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La Puente man accused of DUI in deadly West Covina crash

WEST COVINA >> A 19-year-old La Puente man is accused of murder following an alleged DUI-related crash that claimed the life of one passenger and injured two others early Saturday, police said.
The crash took place about 3:50 a.m. on Lark Ellen Avenue, near Vine Avenue, West Covina police Lt. Ron Allen said.
Andrew James Gomez was at the wheel of a Chevrolet Cobalt when it veered off the roadway and struck a light pole along the west side of Lark Ellen Avenue, according to West Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
“The driver was ejected,” Allen said. “A rear passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Two additional passengers in the car were treated for minor injuries, Allen said.
Officials withheld the identity of the victim who died pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said. He was initially described only as a man.
Gomez was treated for his injuries before being booked on suspicion of murder, according to the lieutenant. Investigators determined he was under the influence of a substance. Further details were not available regarding what substance or substances were believed to be in his system.
The circumstances of the crash remain under investigation by West Covina Police Department’ Traffic Unit.
According to county booking records, Gomez was being held in lieu of $1 million bail the West Covina Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance.
Anyone with information can reach the traffic unit at 626-939-8555.

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Glendora man killed by alleged DUI, hit-and-run driver identified


GLENDORA >> Coroner’s officials have identified a 58-year-old Glendora man who was fatally struck by an alleged DUI, hit-and-run driver while working under the hood of a car last week.
Brian Pasley succumbed to his injuries at a hospital shortly after the 10:10 a.m. crash on April 13 along Grand Avenue, just north of Arrow Highway, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
He was working on auto repairs along the side of the road when a Scion xB driven by 29-year-old Mark Stephen Gagliardi of Claremont slammed into the rear of the car Pasley was working on, Glendora police Cpl. Bill Lee said at the time.
Gagliardi fled the scene, but was found and arrested nearby after his damaged car broke down less than half a mile away, Lee said.
Investigators determined Gagliardi was driving while intoxicated and arrested him on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, felony DUI and hit-and-run, according to the corporal.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Gagliardi was released from jail pending his initial court appearance after posting $136,000 bail.

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