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

0910_NWS_SGT-L-210FATALcrop

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.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

16 cited, 2 arrested at Whittier police checkpoint

WHITTIER >> Police issued 16 citations and arrested two people with active warrants during a sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint in Whittier over the weekend, officials said.
The checkpoint was held Friday night into Saturday morning at Lambert Road and Scott Avenue, Whittier Police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Two drivers were given field sobriety tests, however no arrests for intoxicated driving were made, the lieutenant said.
Slightly more than 950 vehicles were screened at the checkpoint, he said.
Officers issued five tickets to unlicensed drivers, two tickets to people driving on suspended licenses and nine other citations for various violations, Ellis said.
The two vehicles being operated by the drivers with suspended licenses were impounded, Ellis said.
The checkpoint was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Police plan checkpoint in Whittier

WHITTIER — Police plan to check drivers for sobriety and valid drivers’ licenses during a checkpoint late Friday in Whittier, authorities said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7:30 p.m. Friday to 2:30 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, Whittier police Sgt. Rob Hanson said in a written statement.
“Over the course of the past three years in the cities of Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, DUI collisions have claimed 4 lives and resulted in 119 injury crashes harming 167 of our friends and neighbors,” Hanson said.
Checkpoints have been shown to be effective in deterring DUI, he added.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Wrong-way driver kills Fontana women in head-on 210 Freeway crash in Rancho Cucamonga

AR-140729997

RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> A wrong-way driver slammed into another car on the 210 Freeway in Rancho Cucamonga early Sunday, killing himself and two of four family members riding in the other vehicle, authorities said.
Two other members of a family suffered major injuries in the crash, which occurred just after 2 a.m. on the eastbound 210 Freeway, just west of Day Creek Road, California Highway Patrol Sergeant Josh Buffum said.
The wrong-way driver was identified as Mack A. Jaramillo, 28, of Fontana, the sergeant said. He was the sole occupant of a 2011 Hyundai, and investigators were looking into the possibility he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
Two women riding as rear passengers in the 2013 Hyundai struck by the wrong-way vehicle died in the crash, Buffum said. They were identified as Falguni Shah, 38, and Veena Shah, 42, both of Fontana.
The driver of the 2013 Hyundai, 60-year-old Nitin Shah of Chino Hills and front passenger Jyotsna Shah, 56, of Chino Hills were hospitalized with major injuries, Buffum said.
CHP Capt. Joe Flores told the Associated Press that the Shah family was returning from a family reunion when they became involved in the violent collision, which took place in the carpool lane of the eastbound 210 Freeway.

… FULL STORY

PHOTO courtesy of KTLA

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Police checkpoint planned this weekend in La Verne

LA VERNE — Police are planning a sobriety and drivers’ license checkpoint late Saturday in La Verne, official said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday at an undisclosed location within the city, La Verne police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years in La Verne, 26 people have been injured in DUI-related crashes,” La Verne police Sgt. Dave Mortazavi said. A total of 53 DUI-related crashes took place over the past three years.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

DUI ‘saturation patrol’ planned tonight in Pasadena

PASADENA — Police will field extra officers on Pasadena streets Friday night to hunt for intoxicated drivers, authorities said.
A DUI “saturation enforcement” campaign will take place from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said in a written statement. Officers will focus their efforts on area with high rates of DUI collisions or arrests.
Over the past three years in Pasadena, four people have died and 102 people have been hurt in DUI-related crashes, Hettema said.
Funding for the extra patrols is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Task force makes 414 DUI arrests during first 72 hours of holiday enforcement campaign

LOS ANGELES COUNTY >> A task force comprised of Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies arrested 414 people on suspicion of intoxicated driving during the first 72 hours of their Independence Day weekend DUI enforcement campaign, officials announced.
The arrests were made between 12:01 a.m. Thursday and 11:59 p.m. Saturday, officials said. The enforcement campaign was scheduled to continue through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Arrests were down more than 15 percent compared with the same time period last year, when 490 DUI arrests were made by the law enforcement officers taking part in the Avoid the 100 task force, task force coordinator and Glendora police Senior Community Service Officer Wendy Brewer said in a written statement.
But DUI arrests statewide were up 22 percent over last year, at 1,197, according to statistics released by the California Highway Patrol.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

CHP to hold sobriety checkpoint near Industry

California Highway Patrol officials are planning a sobriety checkpoint Saturday night in an unincorporated county area near Industry, officials have announced.
The checkpoint will begin about 9 p.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location in the unincorporated county area near Industry, CHP officials said in a written statement.
Traffic volume permitting, all drivers that pass through the checkpoint will be checked by officers for sobriety, the statement said. If traffic volume becomes too heavy, officers will screen vehicle based on a pre-selected standard — such as every third vehicle or every 5th vehicle — to ensure objectivity.
Funding for Saturday’s checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

13 arrested at Pico Rivera checkpoint

Deputies arrested one person on suspicion of intoxicated driving and a dozen others on suspicion of other crimes during a checkpoint late Friday and early Saturday, officials said.
The checkpoint was held from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday on westbound Whittier Boulevard, just east of Rosemead Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
One driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, officials said.
One person was arrested for knowingly allowing an unlicensed person to drive, according to the sheriff’s department statement. Seven others were arrested and sent to court for driving without licenses, and four drivers were arrested and sent to court for driving on suspended or revoked licensed.
Deputies impounded one vehicle for a single day, and seven vehicles were impounded for 30 days, officials said. Four cars were released at the scene under checkpoint guidelines.
A total of 1,187 vehicles passed through the checkpoint.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Man accused of DUI following injury crash in Azusa

AZUSA — A drunken driver blew through a red light and crashed his car into a pickup truck early Saturday, injuring himself, a passenger and the driver of the truck, police said.
Ricardo Luna Campos, 23, was accused of DUI following the 6:15 a.m. crash at San Gabriel and Sierra Madre avenues, according to Azusa police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. His city of residence was not available.
Campos was driving a Honda Accord south on San Gabriel Avenue just prior to the collision, police said. A woman was riding as a front passenger.
Preliminary investigation indicated, “(The Honda) entered the intersection, against a red light,” Sgt. Mike Bires said in a written statement. “The Honda crashed into a Dodge truck, which had been traveling west on Sierra Madre Avenue.”
Campos suffered moderate head injuries, and his passenger suffered a spinal fracture, Bires said.
A man who was driving the pickup truck was hospitalized with moderate injuries to his knee and ribs, the sergeant added.
None of the injuries were believed to be life threatening, police said.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email