St. Patrick’s Day checkpoint in La Habra nets three DUI arrests


LA HABRA >> Police arrested three suspected intoxicated drivers during a late-night checkpoint on St. Patrick’s Day in La Habra, officials said.
The checkpoint was held from about 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. in the 700 block of East Lambert Road, just west of Harbor Boulevard, La Habra police Sgt. Robert Diehl said.
A total of 666 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, he said.
Officers administered field sobriety tests to seven drivers and ultimately arrested three of them on suspicion of DUI, according to the sergeant.
Another seven motorists were cited for driving without licenses, and three more were cited for driving on suspended licenses, La Habra police said in a written statement.
Police impounded three cars, and released eight at the scene to licensed drivers.

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West Covina man sentenced for DUI crash that killed Walnut father

WALNUT >> A West Covina man received a 4-year prison sentence on Thursday for fatally striking a Walnut man while driving drunk, authorities said.
Haissam Massalkhy, 37, pleaded “no contest” in February to a count of gross vehicular manslaughter for the Feb. 15, 2016, collision at La Puente Road and Barnard Avenue that claimed the life of 59-year-old father of three Chi “Jason” Shao, 59, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani and Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
An additional charge of murder was dismissed at his sentencing on Thursday, records show. Prosecutors initially alleged Massalkhy ran down Shao intentionally, though no possible motive was released. The men did not know one another prior to the incident, officials said.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles handed down a sentence of four years in state prison when Massalkhy appeared in court on Friday.
Shao was jogging when he was struck from behind by Massalkhy’s Toyota Camry, according to Lt. Steve Jauch of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau, which handled the investigation. Shao was carried on the hood of the car for several yards before the Camry crashed into a wall. Paramedics pronounced Shao dead at the scene.
Shao’s son, Jeff Shao, described his father as “friendly” and an “easy-going guy.”
His daughter, Cindy Shao, said his life centered around his family and his job at Cheertie Display Fixtures in El Monte. He had quit smoking and taken up jogging in an effort to live a long and healthful life.
If he had been convicted of murder, rather than vehicular manslaughter, Massalkhy could have faced more than 25 years to life in state prison.

PHOTO: Chi “Jason” Shao, 59, of Walnut.  (Courtesy)

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Police to hold checkpoint in Pasadena on Friday

PASADENA >> Police on Pasadena are planning to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses during a checkpoint this Friday, officials said.
The checkpoint will take place from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years, 194 DUI-related crashes have claimed the lives of four people and left another 104 injures, 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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Pasadena police to hold checkpoint on Friday

PASADENA >> Police in Pasadena are planning a checkpoint on Friday night to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses, authorities said.
The checkpoint is to take place from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years, Pasadena police have seen 194 DUI-related collisions, which resulted in four deaths and another 104 injuries, according to the statement.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Pasadena man charged with manslaughter in alleged DUI crash that killed Altadena man


PASADENA >> A driver accused of killing a motorcyclist in a drunken driving-related crash in Pasadena early New Year’s Day faces a vehicular manslaughter charge, officials said.
Prosecutors charged Shawn Antonio, 42, of Pasadena vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence on Wednesday, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The charge stems from a crash between his BMW X3 SUV and a motorcyclist about 4:40 a.m. on Sunday at Fair Oaks Avenue and Washington Boulevard.
Killed was Carl Steve Perry, 57, of Altadena, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. An autopsy determined Perry died from traumatic injuries, and the death was ruled accidental.
Perry was southbound on Fair Oaks Avenue when Antonio made a left turn in front of him, causing the collision, according to Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman. Paramedics took Perry to a hospital, where he soon succumbed to his injuries.
Police determined Antonio was under the influence of alcohol and arrested him on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, Goodman said.
Antonio appeared in court but entered no plea Wednesday, district attorney’s office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said. His arraignment hearing was postponed to Jan. 11 in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Initially held in lieu of $2 million bail, Antonio’s bail was reduced to $50,000 bail during Wednesday’s proceedings, officials said.
He was released from custody Thursday morning pending the legal process after posting bail, Los Angeles County booking records show.
If convicted as charged, Antonio faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.

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Motorcyclist from Altadena killed, Pasadena man accused of DUI after collision


PASADENA >> An Altadena man died after a drunken driver collided wit his motorcycle in Pasadena early New Year’s Day, police said.
The deadly crash took place at 4:39 a.m. along Fair Oaks Avenue at Washington Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
The victim, a 57-year-old Altadena man whose name was yet to be released, was riding a motorcycle south on Fair Oaks Avenue when a 2006 BMW X3 made a left turn in front of him, he said.
“The victim collided with the suspect vehicle and was ejected from the motorcycle,” police said in a written statement.
Pasadena Fire Department paramedics treated the motorcyclist and took him to an area hospital where he soon succumbed to his injuries.
Police identified the driver of the BMW as Shawn Antonio, 42, of Pasadena.
“Antonio was found to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and was arrested for gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI,” according to the statement.
Antonio has a previous conviction for DUI, police said, making him potentially eligible for a murder charge once prosecutors file a case.
Under California law, defendants accused of DUI resulting in death following a previous DUI conviction can often be charged with murder.
Those convicted of DUI are generally made to acknowledge a “Watson advisement” stating that they understand DUI is dangerous to human life, and that should they be involved in another DUI resulting in death, they could be charged with murder.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Antonio was being held in lieu of $2 million bail pending his initial court appearance.

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Deputies make arrests, hand out toys to children during checkpoint in Industry

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INDUSTRY >> Deputies made 33 arrests or citations, but also handed out Christmas toys to children, during a checkpoint in Industry late Thursday, officials said.
The checkpoint was held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Hacienda Boulevard, just south of Nelson Avenue, near the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Industry Station, according to Capt. Jeff Scroggin of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
A total of 1,453 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, and 47 drivers were evaluated, he said.
Officials arrested two drivers on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, Scroggin said in a written statement.
Seventeen unlicensed drivers were arrested and issued court dates, four drivers are accused of driving on suspended or revoked licenses, seven people were arrested for knowingly allowing an unlicensed person to drive, one person was arrested for possession of narcotics and two people were arrested for outstanding misdemeanor warrants, Scroggin said.
Deputies impounded four vehicles for 30 days, while 17 more were released to licensed drivers per checkpoint policy, he added.
But officials handed out more than citations during the checkpoint. Deputies also brought children’s toys to the checkpoint to give to children who passed through.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Police plan checkpoint in West Covina

WEST COVINA >> Police are planning to hold a checkpoint to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses next week.
The checkpoint is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. on Dec. 30 to 2 a.m. on Dec. 31 at an undisclosed location within the city, West Covina police officials said in a written statement.
“DUI Checkpoints like this one are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests, affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence,” according to the statement. “Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.”
Funding for the operation is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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La Puente woman suspected of DUI after car plummets into San Gabriel River in Azusa

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AZUSA >> Police suspect drunken driving and excessive speed after a car plummeted 100 feet over the side of San Gabriel Canyon Road in Azusa early Thursday, ending up overturned in the San Gabriel River below.
The crash was first reported about 4:05 a.m. in the 2000 block of San Gabriel Canyon Road, Azusa police Sgt. Robert Landeros said in written statement.
A 25-year-old La Puente woman was at the wheel of the 2014 Toyota Corolla when it left the roadway and fell into the river along the Mountain Cove community, he said.
“The solo driver was able to exit her vehicle as it became submerged in the water,” Landeros said. “The driver swam to a nearby embankment and yelled for help.”
A nearby resident heard the woman’s screams and called police. A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter and search and rescue team joined in the effort.
Paramedics took the woman to a hospital with injuries described as moderate, according to the sergeant.
“Driving under the influence of alcohol and unsafe speed are both suspected factors in this collision,” Landeros said.
The investigation was ongoing, however the driver was expected to be booked on suspicion of drunken driving, he said.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Arcadia woman killed by alleged DUI, hit-and-run driver identified


ARCADIA >> Authorities have released the identity of a 77-year-old Arcadia woman who was killed by an alleged drunken, hit-and-run driver while crossing Baldwin Avenue last week.
Fang Qiaorui died at a hospital following the collision, which took place about 9:45 p.m. on Dec. 14 on Baldwin Avenue near Arcadia Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. An autopsy was pending.
She was struck by a Ford Explorer Sport Trac pickup truck, which fled the scene after striking her, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
But witnesses provided police with a description of the truck, including its license plate number. Investigators quickly found and arrested Alex Danilo Cerna, 51, at his home in Pasadena, the sergeant said.
Cerna pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run on Friday in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.
According to court and booking records, Cerna was released from custody Monday after posting $100,000 bail. He’s schedule to return to court Jan. 12 for a preliminary hearing setting.

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