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.
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
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.
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
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.
INDUSTRY — Firefighters made quick work of a small brush fire that ignited along the 60 Freeway in Industry Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The fire was first reported just after 4 p.m. along the 60 Freeway, near Crossroads Parkway, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
It grew to about half an acre in size before being extinguished by firefighters in about half an hour, fire Inspector Keith Mora said.
No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported, he said. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
The fire briefly prompted the closure of the two right-hand lanes of the eastbound 60 Freeway, according to the California Highway Patrol.
INDUSTRY — Authorities Sunday released the name of a 55-year-old La Puente man who was fatally struck by a big rig while riding a bicycle.
Jose Munoz died at the scene of the 3:05 p.m. collision in the 17600 block of Valley Boulevard, just east of Hurley Street, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner officials said.
Little information was available regarding the circumstances of the crash, however the man was initially believed to have been riding on the wrong side of the road when struck, according to Sgt. Desiree Rodriguez. The big rig driver was not initially cites or arrested, however the investigation was ongoing.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station were handling the investigation.
INDUSTRY – A bicyclist died Saturday after colliding with a big rig along Valley Boulevard, authorities said.
The collision was reported about 3:05 p.m. in the 17600 block of Valley Boulevard, just east of Hurley Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Michael Strickland said.
The bicyclist, initially described only as a man, was pronounced dead at the scene, the lieutenant said.
The circumstances of the crash remained under investigation, but it initially appeared the cyclist was riding on the wrong side of the road when struck, Sgt. Desiree Rodriguez said.
The driver remained at the scene and was cooperating with investigators, she added.
No further details were immediately available.
INDUSTRY- Foul play was not initially suspected Wednesday following the discovery of a man’s body in some bushes, officials said.
The body, apparently that of a transient in his 40s, was discovered by a passer-by shortly before 2 p.m. at Valley Boulevard and Azusa Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Desiree Rodriguez said. Paramedics responded and pronounced him dead at the scene.
There were no obvious signs of trauma, and the death appeared to be natural, she said. Investigators from the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner will perform and autopsy to determine the man’s cause of death.
INDUSTRY – A 63-year-old La Puente man died Thursday after being struck by a vehicle along Azusa Avenue, authorities said.
Stephen Lozano died following the collision, which took place about 8:50 a.m. on Gemini Street, just east of Azusa Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said.
He was heading east in the sidewalk running along the north side of Gemini Street prior to the collision, Jimenez said. A 1996 Lexus sedan was being driven westbound on Gemini Street at about 25 mph by a 34-year-old Pomona man
For reasons that remained under investigation, Lozano’s bike went down a driveway and into the street, “directly into the path of the Lexus,” the officer said.
The driver had little or no chance to avoid hitting the bicyclist, he said.
Lozano was taken to the Citrus Valley Health Partners — Queen of the Valley Campus in West Covina, where he died a short time later, CHP Officer Jennifer Cassidy said.
The investigation was ongoing, however nothing criminal was initially suspected, Jimenez said.
The circumstances of the collision were being investigated by officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP.