Off-duty Industry sheriff’s deputies disarm knife-wielding man in front of Pomona courthouse

POMONA — Two off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies confronted, disarmed and detained a belligerent man who showed up at Pomona Superior Court with a butcher knife in his hand earlier this week, authorities said Friday.
The incident took place Monday morning outside courthouse, 400 Civic Center Plaza, sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Boese said.
Off-duty deputies J. Tien and V. Velazquez had just finished testifying in unrelated cases and exited the courthouse, “When they saw a male Hispanic adult walking toward the front entrance holding an 8-inch butcher’s knife in his hand,” the sergeant said.
The man, later identified as 29-year-old parolee and transient Jeralme Cuevas, became agitated when approached by the off-duty deputies and refused to respond to initial attempts to speak to him, officials said.
“After a couple of attempts to contact the man, the man yelled, ‘Are you guys going to take me back to prison? I need to go back to prison or I’ll kill somebody.”
The deputies held Cuevas at gunpoint as they persuaded him to drop the blade and lie down on the ground, Boese said. They detained him until Pomona police arrived, and he was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats and brandishing a weapon in a threatening manner, authorities said.
Boese said Cuevas later told deputies he had gone to the court house, “Just to kill a cop.”
According to county booking records, Cuevas was being held without bail pending a scheduled court appearance at the scene of the alleged crime, Pomona Superior Court.

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Naked senior citizen steals pickup truck in Industry

INDUSTRY — A naked woman stole a man’s pickup truck Sunday from the parking lot of an Industry restaurant, officials said.
The bizarre crime took place shortly after 10 a.m. outside a TGI Fridays restaurant in the 17400 block of Colima Road, near the Puente Hills Mall, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Buger said.
The woman, described as an acquaintance of the victim in her early-60s, fled in the man’s gray, extra cab, 2003 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, the deputy said.
The woman had urinated herself, and the man was helping her buy fresh clothes when she drove away in his truck, Buger said. The exact relationship between the man and woman was unclear.
Deputies continued seeking both the woman, whose identity was known to deputies, and the truck Sunday afternoon.

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Auto theft suspect jailed after chase through Industry, Bassett

INDUSTRY — Deputies arrested an alleged auto thief Friday following a brief car chase and foot pursuit, authorities said.
Joaquin Garcia, 38, was arrested following the incident, which began shortly after 5 p.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. James Beamon said. His city of residence was not available.
A deputy spotted him driving a 2000 Hyundai that had been reported stolen near Amar Road and Baldwin Park Boulevard, at the northwest edge of Industry, the lieutenant said.
Garcia refused to pull over for the deputy, initiating a pursuit that ended in the 400 block of Santa Mariana Avenue in the unincorporated county area of Bassett, where the suspect abandoned the car and continued fleeing on foot, Beamon said. He was quickly apprehended by deputies.
According to county booking records, Garcia was being held in lieu of $80,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in El Monte Superior Court.

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Montebello man fatally struck while crossing 60 Freeway in Industry following car breakdown

INDUSTRY — A Montebello man died late Friday after he was struck by two vehicles while trying to cross the 60 Freeway after the car he was riding in broke down, authorities said.
Roger Reyna, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, California Highway Patrol Officer Francisco Villalobos said.
The collision was first reported about 8:40 p.m. in the westbound lanes of the 60 Freeway, just east of Crossroads Parkway in Industry, CHP Officer Patrick Kimball said.
Prior to being struck, Reyna was a passenger in a car being driven by his mother that had broken down on the eastbound side of the freeway, Villalobos said. He exited the vehicle to seek help, and attempted to cross the freeway.
“He crossed all lanes of the eastbound 60 and was crossing the westbound lanes when he was struck by a vehicle in the No. 6 lane,” Villalobos said. “He was subsequently struck by a second vehicle in the No. 6 lane.”
A 27-year-old La Puente man who was driving the 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche that first struck Reyna, as well as a 50-year-old Corona man who was driving the 19988 Acura TL that struck the man afterward remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, Villalobos said. No arrests or citations were made as the incident remained under investigation.
CHP logs indicated a caller reported seeing a man walking along the side of the road at 8:38 p.m. One minute later, it was reported that the man was seen near the center divider.
A CHP officer arrived on-scene at 8:40 p.m., but the man — later identified as Reyna — has already been fatally struck, logs show.
Officials issued a Sig Alert for the three right-hand lanes of the westbound 60 Freeway for more than an hour as they investigated the scene.

– Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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UPDATED: Walnut man dies in 60 Freeway motorcycle hit-and-run; two drivers arrested

A motorcyclist died and two people were arrested early Sunday following a hit-and-run crash on the 60 Freeway at the 605 Freeway, authorities said.
The fatal collision was first reported about 2:40 a.m. in the westbound lanes of the 60 Freeway, just east of the 605 Freeway in an unincorporated county area near Industry, California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs said.
The name of the motorcyclist was not released by coroner’s officials pending notification of his family. CHP officials described him as a 28-year-old Walnut man.
Arrested were Ai Ho, 57, of Rowland Heights on suspicion of hit-and-run, as well as Gilberto Flores, 25, of Los Angeles, on suspicion of hit-and-run and drunken driving, California Highway Patrol officer Jennifer Cassidy said.
The motorcyclist was riding a 2012 Yamaha motorcycle at a “high rate of speed” in the No. 3 lane prior to the collision, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
He rear-ended a 1995 Lexus SC300 being driven ahead of him by Ho at about 65 mph, officials said.
“As a result of this collision, (the motorcyclist) was ejected into the No. 3 lane while his vehicle continued travelling westbound,” the statement said.
A 1997 Chevrolet Tahoe being driven by Flores then came upon the scene and struck the motorcycle, according to the CHP.
Paramedics pronounced the motorcyclist dead at the scene, Jacobs said. The Lexus and Chevrolet that were involved in the crash had fled the scene.
Investigators, aided by a license plate that fell off one of the vehicles during the crash, located the cars in Rowland Heights and Los Angeles, and the suspected drivers were arrested, officials said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Ho was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, while Flores was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Officials issued a Sig Alert on the westbound 60 Freeway for more than two hours following the crash.

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Alleged drunken driver arrested after chase from Industry to West Covina

An alleged drunken and reckless driver led authorities on a freeway chase Wednesday that began in Industry and ended with his arrest West Covina, officials said.
A deputy assigned to the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station spotted an allegedly drunken driver about 11 a.m. on the northbound 605 Freeway, just north of Valley Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Sanchez said.
The driver of the car, described as a black Dodge Charger, failed to pull over, initiating a chase, officials said.
Deputies chased the fleeing car north on the 605 Freeway, then east on the 10 Freeway before calling in California Highway Patrol officers to take over the pursuit, Sanchez said.
Shortly after CHP officers joined the chase, the driver exited at Citrus Avenue in West Covina and surrendered, Sanchez said. He was expected to be booked on suspicion of drunken driving and evading police.
The driver’s name was not immediately available pending the booking process, Sanchez said.

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Big rig crash snarls commute through Industry Friday


INDUSTRY — A big rig smashed into the center divider of the 60 Freeway in Industry on Friday, spilling its cargo and prompting a Sig Alert that snarled traffic for more than four hours.
Though the crash wrought havoc on the commute through the San Gabriel Valley, it resulted in no major injuries, authorities said.
The crash took place just after 10:05 a.m. on the westbound 60 Freeway, just east of the 605 Freeway, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
A big rig being driven by a Mira Loma man estimated to be about 50 years old was headed westbound on the freeway hauling metal rails, according to Officer Lillie of the CHP’s Altadena Office, who declined to give his first name.
For reasons not yet determined Friday, the big rig crashed into the cement divider separating westbound traffic from eastbound traffic, Lillie said.
“As a result of that, the rails came free and collided with a metal pole and spread across westbound and eastbound lanes,” the officer said.
The truck ended up glancing off the divider, going across all the lanes of the westbound 60 Freeway and down a dirt embankment, coming to a rest off the roadway, officials said. The driver was taken to a hospital with apparently minor injuries.
Two sedans and a pickup truck struck metal rails falling from the truck, Lillie said. One of the sedan drivers was treated for injuries believed to be minor, while the other two drivers whose vehicles collided with the metal rails did not wish to be taken to a hospital.
In the two hours immediately following the crash, all but one lane in each direction of the 60 Freeway were shut down periodically as the roadway was cleared of debris, officials said.
Two lanes of the westbound 60 Freeway remained closed past 3 p.m.

– Staff report, staff photo

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Whittier man and boys killed in head-on collision following 6th grade graduation party identified


Coroner’s officials Saturday identified the man and two boys killed in a car crash in Industry while celebrating the boys’ sixth grade graduation.

Efren Velasquez, 22, Gilbert Enriquez Jr., 12 and Braulio Duque, 13, died in Thursday’s crash, which took place shortly before 9 p.m. on San Gabriel River Parkway, just south of Rose Hills Road, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said.

Velasquez lived in Compton, though friends and family said he was born and raised in Whittier.


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FBI searches Industry business

INDUSTRY — Federal search warrants were served at a local business Friday morning, FBI officials said.
FBI spokeswoman Arielle Dekofsky said the warrants served at 15305 Stafford Street were due to an ongoing investigation.
However, she didn’t say what the investigation was about and didn’t name the business.
There were reportedly no arrests.
The address comes back to IKON Motorsports Inc. which was incorporated on March 6, 2007, according to the California Secretary of State online records.
Company officials couldn’t be reached for comment Friday night.

– Ruby Gonzales

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UPDATE: Man and two children killed, three others injured, in head-on crash on Industry-Pico Rivera border

INDUSTRY – A man driving a Honda Civic and two of his young passengers died late Thursday when their car collided head-on with a Nissan Sentra following a elementary school graduation party.
The names of the dead man and children were not released Friday pending confirmation that their families had been notified, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. The driver was initially described as a 22-year-old man, and the children were described as approximately 13 years old.
Four other people were also injured in the 8:45 p.m. crash in the 3500 block of San Gabriel River Parkway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“A preliminary investigation revealed the Honda passenger vehicle was travelling north on San Gabriel River Parkway and crossed over into the southbound lanes of traffic,” according to Lt. Andrew Meyer of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station. “The Honda passenger vehicle struck the Nissan Sentra, which was traveling Southbound on San Gabriel River Parkway, and a head-on collision occurred.”
“There’s no suspicion of intoxicated driving at this time,” Sgt. Gerard Velona of the sheriff’s Industry Station said.
Speed was believed to be a factor on the part of the Honda, which was believed to have been traveling in excess of 80 mph prior to the crash, Velona said.
There were five people in the Honda.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, Meyer said.
Three minors sitting in the back of the car were all ejected, sheriff’s officials said. Two of them died at the scene, while the third was hospitalized in critical condition.
It was not clear whether the ejected children were wearing seat belts.
A front passenger of the Honda, described by sheriff’s officials only as female, was hospitalized in critical condition following the crash.
Rene Ayala, 26, of Whittier, the godfather of the surviving child who was thrown from the Honda, said the three children were boys who had just attended a small party to celebrate their graduation from Carmela Elementary School. He added that his godson was 12, about to turn 13.
After visiting him at the hospital, “He’s doing good,” the godfather said. “I just told him to relax.”
The driver was Ayala’s godson’s uncle, he said. Friends and family members who visited the scene Friday morning did not know the identity of the front passenger, who officials said was also hospitalized in critical condition.
The driver and three boys were all from Whittier, Ayala said, though the driver had been recently staying in Compton.
The driver’s wife, who also attended the small graduation party at a nearby home, left in a separate vehicle, Ayala said. Through chance and intuition, she came upon the crash scene just after it occurred.
As she was driving, “She saw the road was blocked ahead,” he said. “She got a weird feeling.”
She made her way closer to the scene and realized her husband’s car was involved, Ayala said.
Anthony Cerda, 27, of Whittier is a friend of the driver who stopped by the scene Friday.
“I’m just in shock. It’s very tragic what happened,” he said.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Cerda said. “All I know is he’s gone, and only God knows why.”
He added that his friend was not a reckless driver.
In addition to his wife, the driver of the Honda is survived by a young daughter, Cerda said.
He worked as a machinist, Ayala added.
The woman driving the Sentra and another woman who was riding as her passenger were also hospitalized in serious condition following the crash, sheriff’s officials said. Their ages and cities of residence were withheld.
Though deputies from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station initially responded to the crash, it was ultimately determined to be just inside the Industry border.
The investigation is being handled by traffic deputies assigned to the sheriff’s Industry Station.

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