Police plan checkpoint Friday in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Police are planning a checkpoint late Friday to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses, 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 Lt. Pete Hettema said in a written statement.
Over the past three years in Pasadena, four people have died and 112 people have been injured in DUI-related crashes, according to Police Chief Phillip Sanchez.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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CHP plans checkpoint in Rowland Heights Friday

ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> California Highway Patrol officers are planning to screen drivers for sobriety at a checkpoint Friday in Rowland Heights, officials said.
The checkpoint is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. at an undisclosed location with Rowland Heights, CHP officials said in a written statement.
Traffic volume permitting, all drivers passing through the checkpoint will be screened, officials said.

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Police plan checkpoint in El Monte Wednesday

EL MONTE — Police plan to check drivers for sobriety and valid licenses during a checkpoint late Wednesday, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. at an undisclosed location within El Monte, El Monte police Officer Bryan Tromp said in a written statement.
Funding for the operation is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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Police: Drunken driver crashes into tour bus full of seniors in Irwindale

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IRWINDALE >> A drunken driver slammed into a charter bus filled with senior citizens in Irwindale late Sunday, officials said.
Ten of the 48 primarily elderly passengers of the bus complained of pain following the crash, and one was taken to a hospital for examination, Irwindale police Sgt. Rudy Gatto said.
Montiel Reyes, 23, of Los Angeles was booked on suspicion of felony drunken driving in connection with the crash, which took place about 7 p.m. at Arrow Highway and Live Oak Avenue, just east of the 605 Freeway, Gatto said. Reyes was unlicensed and has also had his driving privilege suspended, he added.
Reyes was driving a two-door Honda Civic west on Arrow Highway when he entered the intersection and struck the bus, Gatto said. The bus was eastbound on Arrow Highway, making a left turn to continue east on Arrow Highway at the Live Oak Avenue fork.
Police said the civic struck the left, rear portion of the bus.
Damage to the car was described as major, while damage to the bus appeared moderate, Gatto said.
A second bus was sent for the passengers, Gatto said. It was not clear where the bus was heading when it became involved in the crash.
Reyes was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Baldwin Park Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance, Gatto said.
The circumstances of the crash remained under investigation, and anyone with information was asked to contact Detective Sgt. George Zendejas at 626-962-3601.

BOOKING PHOTO of Montiel Reyes, 23, of Los Angeles courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department.

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Three DUI suspects arrested at Arcadia police checkpoint

ARCADIA >> Police jailed three allegedly impaired drivers during a checkpoint in Arcadia late Saturday, officials said.
The checkpoint was held on Santa Anita Avenue near St. Joseph Street, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
Three people were arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, while another seven were cited for driving without licenses, and one was cited for driving with a suspended license, the lieutenant said.
Police stored three cars for one day, and one car was impounded for 30 days, he added.
Funding for the checkpoint was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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UPDATED: 20 tickets, no arrests, reported at La Mirada checkpoint

LA MIRADA >> Deputies issued 20 tickets but made no arrests during a sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint Saturday night in La Mirada, officials said.
The checkpoint was held from 5 p.m. to midnight on westbound Imperial Highway, just east of Santa Gertrudes Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Eric Smitson said.
No drivers were arrested during the checkpoint, however 19 tickets were issued for driving without a license, and one was issued for driving on a suspended license, sheriff’s officials said. Thirteen cars were released to other licensed drivers at the checkpoint.
Deputies impounded six vehicles for one day, and a one vehicle was impounded for 30 days, he added.
Funding for the checkpoint was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Five drivers arrested for DUI at Glendora checkpoint

GLENDORA >> Police arrested five DUI suspects during a checkpoint late Friday and early Saturday, including one with a blood-alcohol level three times greater than the legal limit, officials said.
The checkpoint was held from 6 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday on Grand Avenue, Glendora police Senior Community Service Officer Wendy Brewer said. Brewer also coordinates a regional, multi-agency anti-DUI task force known as “Avoid the 100.”
In addition to the five suspected intoxicated drivers, police also arrested seven people for driving without licenses or identification, and one person was jailed due to an outstanding warrant, Glendora police Sgt. Marty Barrett said.
Officers cited 27 unlicensed drivers and 20 drivers with suspended licenses, Barrett said. Twenty-four vehicles were impounded as a result of the checkpoint.
Officers from the Pomona, La Verne and Azusa police departments joined Glendora police at the checkpoint, Brewer said.
Funding for the checkpoint was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Wreckage on display in Arcadia as reminder of the dangers of DUI

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ARCADIA >> Police have placed a somber reminder to drive sober along the city’s main thoroughfare.
In partnership with Jan’s Towing, the Arcadia Police Department is displaying a mangled car that was involved in a fatal DUI-related crash along Huntington Drive, police officials said in a written statement. The goal of the educational project, dubbed the Safe Summer Campaign, is to remind motorists of the dangers and tragic, sometimes deadly consequences of intoxicated driving.
The wrecked vehicle was placed, along with banners encouraging sober driving, was placed on the center median of Huntington Drive just west of Gate 3 Thursday, and will remain in place for weekends through Aug. 18, police said.
“The hope is to grab the attention of passers-by, to make a lasting impression and to cause them to think twice before driving while impaired,” according to the police statement.
Two banners accompany the wreckage. One reads, “Don’t drink and drive,” while the other reads, “Arcadia Police Department Safe Summer Campaign.”
A box of brochures from Mothers Against Drunk Driving sits nearby.
Officials planned to reuse the display at Arcadia High School to educate students in the fall, officials said.
For more information, the Arcadia Police Department Traffic Bureau can be reached at 626-574-5475.

PHOTO courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department

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Alleged DUI driver from Covina jailed after leading Irwindale police on chase

IRWINDALE >> A drunken Covina man led Irwindale police on a 4-mile chase before being arrested late Saturday, officials said.
A detective was patrolling in the area of Arrow Highway and Vincent Avenue about 9:15 p.m. when he noticed late-1990s Honda Accord came to a “screeching stop” at the intersection, Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said.
Suspecting DUI, the detective tried to pull over the car, but it sped away heading south on Vincent Avenue, police said.
The chase reached speeds of up to 70 mph as it wound through surface streets in an unincorporated county area near Covina, Zendejas said.
The driver, 24-year-old Freddy Rios Godoy, ultimately stopped in the front yard of a relative’s home in the 16600 block of Benwood Street, the sergeant said. He was then taken into custody without a struggle.
He was booked on suspicion of intoxicated driving and evading police, as well as an outstanding $10,000 arrest warrant from another law enforcement agency, police said.
According to county booking records, Godoy was being held in lieu of $85,000 bail at the Glendora Police Department’s jail pending his arraignment, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

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UPDATED — CHP: El Monte man killed by wrong-way DUI driver on 210 Freeway in Azusa

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AZUSA >> The life of a 19-year-old El Monte man was suddenly and senselessly cut short early Saturday after an allegedly intoxicated wrong-way driver plowed into his car at high speed on the 210 Freeway in Azusa, according to authorities and family members of the victim.
The fatal collision took place about 3:10 a.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway at Vernon Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Monica Posada said.
Justin Romo, 19, was killed in the crash, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
Romo’s 1992 Nissan 240SX was struck head-on by the suspect’s 1997 Honda accord with a combined speed of 150 mph, CHP officials said.
Romo’s girlfriend, 16, was riding as his passenger and was hospitalized with injuries described as moderate, officials and Romo’s mother, Lupe Garcia, said.
The driver of the Honda, 24-year-old Tyler White Thompson, ran from the wreck but was arrested a short time later at his home in Duarte, according to CHP officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He was treated for apparently minor injuries and booked on suspicion of intoxicated driving and hit-and-run, Posada said.
Officials were also seeking a second “person of interest” in connection with the crash, Posada said, however that person’s role in the incident was not clear. No description of the person of interest was available.
Officials first received a call at 3:08 a.m. reporting a wrong-way driver headed eastbound in the westbound lanes of the 210 Freeway near Irwindale Avenue in Irwindale, less than a mile west of the crash scene, CHP Acting Sergeant Ron Warrior said in a written statement.
Both vehicles were travelling about an estimated 75 mph when the collided, officials said. Romo, who had been driving in the left-hand lane, swerved in an attempt to avoid the oncoming Honda, but was unable to avoid a collision.
“As (the Honda) approached (the Nissan), (the Nissan) swerved to the left and a head-on collision occurred between the two vehicles,” Warrior said.
Romo succumbed to his injuries at the scene, officials said. His teenage passenger was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment. Her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
A Sig Alert remained in effect for all westbound lanes of the 210 Freeway at Vernon Avenue for more than four hours, Posada said.
Officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP are investigating the crash.
Thompson was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles pending his initial court appearance, according to booking records.
Romo’s mother said she hoped the wrong-way, allegedly DUI driver is charged with manslaughter.
In addition to herself, Garcia said her son is survived by three older sisters: Janel Garcia, Adriel Garcia and Marlene Garcia. “He was their baby brother,” the mother said.
Romo is also survived by his step-father Michael Garcia, who has raised him from birth, and his biological father Arthur Romo.
“He was kind-hearted. He was very loving and giving,” the mourning mother said. “He was very outgoing. He had lots of friends. They loved him.”
Romo was caravanning along with friends in other cars after spending some time up in the Azusa Canyon, Garcia said. Several of his friends witnessed the crash.
Romo, a lifelong El Monte resident, attended El Monte High School and El Monte Union High School Community Day Program alternative school, his mother said.
He was a very active young man who loved skateboarding and BMX biking, she added.
He often spent time at the Bonita Skatepark in Arcadia, which is where he met his girlfriend, Garcia said. “That was his second home,” she said.
Garcia said her son was looking for a job and hoping to attend school to study auto mechanics.
The grieving mother said she hoped others would learn from her family’s tragedy and never get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
“I’m a very adamant supporter of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Now a tragedy hit my son.”
Donations to benefit Romo’s family can be made at any Chase bank to account number 621355937.
Saturday’s crash was the third fatal head-on freeway collision suspected to involve DUI in the area over the past six months.
A La Habra man headed the wrong-way on the 210 Freeway in Rancho Cucamonga struck another car on July 20, killing two of four family members inside, CHP officials said. Officials were looking into the possibility that the wrong-way driver, Mack A. Jaramillo of La Habra, was intoxicated at the time of the 2 a.m. crash.
Another wrong-way crash alleged to involve drunken driving left six people dead in Diamond Bar on Feb. 9.
Olivia Culbreath, 21, of Fontana has been charged with six counts of murder in connection with the horrific crash, which CHP investigators blamed on drunken driving. Two of those killed were passengers in Culbreath’s Camaro, officials said, while the other for were travelling in the Ford Explorer she struck head-on.

PHOTO of Jusin Romo, 19, of El Monte courtesy of family.

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