UPDATED: Passenger killed, driver accused of DUI in West Covina solo-car crash; Suspect and victim both from Baldwin Park


WEST COVINA >> A Baldwin Park man riding as a passenger in the car of an alleged drunken driver died late Friday in a solo-car crash in West Covina, authorities said.
Aldo Armando Dominguez, 24, of Baldwin Park died at the scene of the 11:45 p.m. crash in the 2700 block of Hillside Drive, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
Dominguez was riding as a rear passenger in a Honda sedan being driven by 27-year-old Felipe Lamas-Spino of Baldwin Park, West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said. Police booked Lamas-Spino on suspicion of felony drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter. He suffered no significant injuries.
0215_NWS_SGT-L-WCRASH2Another young man riding as a front passenger in the Honda also escaped significant injury, Lopez said.
Lamas-Spino lost control of the car as he drove west through the residential neighborhood, according to the corporal.
“Speed appears to be a factor,” he said.
The Honda struck the curb and smashed into a tree before overturning and coming to rest against a wall, Lopez said. The impact snapped a tree in half and created massive cracks in a stone retaining wall
Paramedics pronounced Dominguez dead at the scene, Lopez said. He was not believed to have been wearing a seat belt.
Two white candles and a small white cross marked the scene of the crash Saturday.
A nearby resident, who declined to giver her name, said she heard the loud crash from her home but did not know how it happened.
She said she was saddened to learn that a young man had died as a result of the crash.
Family members of Dominguez could not be reached for comment.
The crash occurred on an curving, uphill section of the road.
A cement mailbox pillar next to the destroyed tree had been dislodged by a previous crash about two months ago, the neighbor said.
Lamas-Spino was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Wednesday in West Covina Superior Court, county booking records show.
Witnesses to the crash are encouraged to contact West Covina police at 939-8500, or the department’s 24-hour tip hotline at 626-939-8668.


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Good Samaritan, police rescue five people from fiery South Pasadena crash; driver suspected of DUI

SOUTH PASADENA >> A good Samaritan and police pulled five people from an overturned, burning car early Sunday following an alleged DUI crash at Fair Oaks Avenue and Huntington Drive, authorities said.
The crash took place just before 2 a.m., South Pasadena police Sgt. Brian Solinsky said.
A 21-year-old Glendora woman was driving a 2012 Mazda sedan south on Fair Oaks Avenue at high speed when she lost control while trying to make a left turn onto Huntington Drive, Solinsky said.
“The car struck a center median and then a mailbox and fire hydrant on the south sidewalk of Huntington, shearing off the hydrant,” police said in a written statement. “The car just missed hitting a tree, struck a sign and wall, flipped over and landed on its roof.”
“Four adult females, including the driver, were able to crawl from the wreckage with the help of passersby after one of the female passengers kicked out a window,” according to the statement.
But a man who had been knocked unconscious in the crash was still inside when police arrived on scene, Solinsky said. The car was rapidly becoming engulfed in flames.
Officers smashed a window with a baton and pulled the unconscious man to safety, Solinsky said.
By the time the fire was extinguished,the car was “torched,” Solinksy said, adding that he doubted anyone left inside the burning car could have survived.
The driver and four passengers were all taken to a hospital for treatment, the sergeant said.
The driver, a 21-year-old Glendora woman whose name was not available Sunday, suffered injuries described as moderate, Solinsky said. They appeared to include injuries to her head and face.
The woman had not been formally arrested Sunday afternoon due to her injuries, but was expected to face a felony drunken driving case, Solinsky said.
The four passengers, residents of Glendora and Azusa who were also in their early-20s, suffered injuries described by police as minor.

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Whittier checkpoint nets 1 DUI arrest, 10 citations

WHITTIER >> Police arrested one alleged drunken driver and issued 10 citations during an overnight checkpoint in Whittier, officials said Saturday.
Officers screened 1,216 drivers during the checkpoint, which was held from 7:30 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday on Whittier Boulevard at Redman Avenue, just east of the 605 Freeway, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
Two drivers were given field sobriety tests, however only one of them was ultimately arrested for DUI, he said.
Officers cited nine people for driving without licenses and issued one additional “miscellaneous” citation, Ruiz said.
Police impounded two cars, one of them for 30 days, he added.

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Police checkpoint planned tonight in Whittier

WHITTIER >> Police plan to check motorists for sobriety and valid licenses at a checkpoint tonight in Whittier.
The checkpoint will take place at an undisclosed location within the city between 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed three lives and resulted in 135 injury crashes harming 188 of our friends and neighbors,” Sgt. David Elizarraras said.
Funding for tonight’s 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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Woman hurt in alleged DUI, hit-and-run crash in West Covina dies from injuries


WEST COVINA >> A 31-year-old Los Angeles woman who was severely injured in an alleged DUI, hit-and-run crash in west Covina last week succumbed to her injuries Thursday, authorities said.
Sherry Yu has been hospitalized in critical condition since Dec. 30, when accused drunken driver Raymond Simon Alvarado, 21, of San Bernardino ran a red light while drunk, slamming into a car Yu was riding as a passenger in, according to West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez.
Yu died from her injuries Thursday at a hospital.
Police said Alvarado blew through a red light at Azusa Avenue while speeding west on Rowland Avenue about 9:15 p.m. His Honda Civic struck the Acura Integra Yu was riding in, which was making a left turn from eastbound Rowland Avenue onto northbound Azusa Avenue.
Yu’s boyfriend, who was driving the Acura suffered non-life-threatening injuries, officials and friends said.
0101_NWS_SGT-L-DUICRASHAlvarado then tried to flee the scene on foot, but was pointed out by a witness and arrested, Lopez said.
He appeared in Pomona Superior Court Monday and pleaded not guilty to charges of DUI causing great bodily injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than .08 percent causing great bodily injury, felony hit-and-run and driving without a license, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said. He was ordered back to court for a hearing Jan. 28.
Police notified prosecutors of Yu’s death for consideration of additional charges, such as vehicular manslaughter, authorities said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Alvarado remained behind bars Thursday in lieu of $210,000 bail at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic.
West Covina police traffic investigators returned to the scene of the crash Thursday evening to take measurements and photographs as part of the ongoing investigation, Lt. Pat Cirrito said. The intersections was closed to traffic overnight.
Family and friends have set up an online fund to help cover medical and burial expenses at http://www.gofundme.com/SherryinComa.

PHOTOS: Top – Sherry Yu, 31, of Los Angeles. (courtesy) Below – Raymond Simon Alvarado, 21, of San Bernardino. (courtesy)

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Checkpoint planned this week in Norwalk

NORWALK >> Sheriff’s deputies will screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses Thursday during a nighttime checkpoint, officials said.
The checkpoint will take place between 6 p.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. The location of the checkpoint has not been disclosed.
Over the past three years in the cities and unincorporated areas patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, “DUI collisions have claimed 22 lives and resulted in 898 injury crashes harming 1,330 of our friends and neighbors,” Sgt. Daniel Dail of the Traffic Services Detail said.
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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UPDATED: San Bernardino man accused of DUI, hit-and-run following West Covina crash


WEST COVINA >> A San Bernardino man is accused of being drunk when he ran through a red light at a major West Covina intersection and crashed into another car, injuring two people late Tuesday, officials said.
Police jailed Raymond Simon Alvarado, 21, on suspicion of felony drunken driving and felony hit-and-run following the 9:15 p.m. crash at Azusa and Rowland avenues, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said in a written statement.
“Alvarado had been seen driving the Honda Civic westbound on Rowland Avenue at a high rate of speed, failing to stop for red traffic signals at the intersections of Rowland (and) Hollenbeck and Rowland (and) Azusa,” Lopez said.
As Alvarado went through the intersection of Rowland and Azusa avenues, his car slammed into an Acura Integra which had been making a left turn from northbound Azusa Avenue to Eastbound Rowland Avenue on a green signal, police said.
Paramedics took a man who was at the wheel of the Acura and a woman who was riding as his passenger to a hospital with injuries police initially described as not believed to be life-threatening.
But the woman’s condition worsened at the hospital, where she was listed in critical condition, Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Alvarado tried to flee the crash scene on foot, but a witness pointed him out as the driver of the Honda, Lopez said.
Police took Alvarado to a hospital for examination before booking him into jail, officials said.
According to Los Angeles County records, Alvarado was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Twin Towers Correction Facility in Los Angeles pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in Pomona Superior Court, officials said.
Police planned to request Alvarado’s bail be increased to $210,000 at Monday’s hearing, Patton said.

PHOTO: Raymond Simon Alvarado, 21, of San Bernardino, is accused of drunken driving and hit-and-run in connection with an injury crash in West Covina on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014. (Courtesy of the West Covina Police Department)

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Woman seriously injured, dog killed, Chino Hills man accused of DUI in 57 Freeway crash in San Dimas

SAN DIMAS >> A Chino Hills man is accused of drunken driving in connection with a crash that severely injured a passenger and killed a dog late Tuesday, authorities said.
California Highway Patrol officials expected to arrest Matthew Kitakis, 32, upon his release from a hospital, where he was being treated for injuries suffered in the 9:50 p.m. crash on the southbound 57 Freeway at Arrow Highway in San Dimas, CHP Officer Richard McAllister said.
A 34-year-old Chino Hills woman riding as a passenger in the Ford Explorer driven by Kitakis was thrown from the SUV in the crash and suffered major injuries, the officer said. Paramedics took the woman to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with serious injuries, including possible skull and spine fractures.
A dog also riding inside the SUV died in the crash, McAllister said.
The crash occurred as Kitakis was driving the Explorer at 65 to 70 mph in the right-hand lane, officials said.
“For unknown reasons, the driver lost control of the Explorer, allowing it to veer to the right and drive up an embankment,” McAllister said. The SUV then overturned, ultimately coming to a rest back on its wheels.
The crash was being investigated by officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP.

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UPDATED: Teenage passenger dies in alleged DUI, street racing crash in Pasadena

PASADENA >> An 18-year-old Altadena man is accused of being drunk and street racing when he crashed a car in Pasadena late Thursday, killing a 17-year-old passenger and injuring three others, police said.
Police arrested Gerardo Garcia on suspicion of drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter following the 12:20 a.m. crash on Washington Boulevard at Lincoln Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The name of the teenage passenger who died following the crash was not available Sunday. Police described him as a 17-year-old Riverside resident. Garcia and three other teenage passengers of the car suffered minor to moderate injuries.
“According to independent witnesses, two vehicles had been street racing while traveling on Washington when the collision occurred,” Luna said.
Garcia was at the wheel of a 2004 Nissan sedan, Lt. Art Chute said.
“It appears they were street racing, and during the race, they collided,” Chute said.
The Nissan then went out of control, police said.
“(The car) lost control and struck the freeway overpass embankment, causing the vehicle to overturn at least once,” Luna said.
The badly injured Riverside teen was taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena where he succumbed to his injuries at 7:39 a.m., Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Dana Bee said.
The teen who ultimately died from his injuries was outside the car when rescuers arrived, however it was unclear whether he had been thrown from the car in the crash, or pulled from the wreckage afterward, officials said.
Two teenage girls riding in the Nissan suffered injuries described as moderate, while fourth passenger — a teenage boy — suffered minor injuries, Chute said.
After being treated for his injuries, Garcia was booked at the Pasadena Police Department Jail, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. He was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
The crash remains under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department’s Major Accident Investigation Team.

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Checkpoints planned throughout the region this weekend

Law enforcement agencies throughout the San Gabriel Valley and beyond are planning sobriety and driver’s license checkpoints this weekend.
Police in Glendora and La Verne are planning checkpoint in their respective cities, officials said. Glendora’s checkpoint will be held from Friday night through Saturday morning, and La Verne officers will screen drivers Saturday into early Sunday morning, police officials said in written statement.
Toward Pasadena, Pasadena police are planning a checkpoint Friday night through early Saturday morning, as well Alhambra and San Gabriel police, officials said. Arcadia police have a checkpoint schedule late Saturday into early Sunday.
Whittier and Montebello police officers will hold checkpoints Friday night into Saturday morning, along with sheriff’s deputies in Pico Rivera, officials said. The sheriff’s Norwalk Station is holding a checkpoint Saturday night.
A coalition of Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies known as “Avoid the 100” has a total of 52 checkpoints planned through Jan. 1, task force coordinator and Glendora police Senior Community Service Officer Wendy Brewer said. The task force is also planning 134 DUI saturation patrols.
Funding for the operations is being provided by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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