Trailer full of camping gear stolen stolen from Young Marines in Irwindale

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Members and organizers of the San Gabriel Valley Young Marines who meet at AMVETS Post 113 in Irwindale arrived at their meeting Wednesday to discover a trailer containing all of their camping gear had been stolen.
The equipment and trailer, valued at about $8,000, was discovered missing Wednesday evening when the group met for the weekly gathering at the post, 14910 E. Los Angeles Street, according to the unit’s commander, Alwyn Torres. It was last seen by group members during their previous meeting Aug. 28.
“Basically, it’s all the gear that we’ve been able to accumulate over the past seven years that we’ve been in existence in Irwindale,” Torres said.
In addition to the 8-foot by 12-foot trailer itself, the stolen equipment included cots, tents, a 5-horsepower generator, a six-burner grill, a recently purchased medical equipment bag worth $500, rappelling gear and other supplies.
More than 80 members of the San Gabriel Valley Young Marines regularly use the equipment, Torres said.
Whoever stole the trailer must have brought their own vehicle with a trailer hitch to remove it, he added.
Police continued checking area surveillance cameras for possible leads, though there was initially not much evidence for investigators, Irwindale police Detective Sgt. George Zendejas said. Information regarding the stolen trailer and items was shared with other area law enforcement agencies.
“We appeal to any witnesses who may have seen anything suspicious,” Zendejas said.
Despite the significant loss, Torres said the Young Marines will continue.
“I’m irritated about it, but we’ll just keep moving forward,” he said.
Young Marines members are planning to take part in a September 11th commemoration ceremony in Montebello Wednesday.
“I will continue. I’m gong to have to do something. Either donations, or borrow from people. Whatever it takes, i can’t neglect my kids.”
Anyone with information was asked to contact Detective Sgt. Zendejas at 626-430-2245, or by email at gzendejas@ci.irwindale.ca.us.
Those interested in donating equipment or funds to replace Young Marines’ stolen items can reach unit commander Torres at 626-241-0055, or by email at tsepmerfi18@yahoo.com.

Members of the San Gabriel Valley Young Marines march in La Verne’s 2013 Independence Day Parade. (Courtesy)

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More than 50 people hurt in Irwindale 210 Freeway tour bus crash

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MONROVIA >> A freeway crash involving an overturned casino-bound tour bus sent more than 50 people to the hospital Thursday.
Los Angeles County Fire Department Deputy Chief John Tripp said he was amazed there weren’t more serious injuries in the 10 a.m. crash on the eastbound 210 Freeway just west of Irwindale Avenue.
A total of 52 people were taken to eight area hospitals with injuries ranging from bumps and bruises to broken bones, fire officials said.
“We did not have any severe injuries,” Tripp said.

Officials described 36 of the injuries as minor, 11 as moderate and 5 as more serious, requiring immediate medical attention, fire Capt. Brian Jordan said.
Seven patients were rushed to hospital by helicopter, Jordan added.
Fifty-one of them were believed to be on-board the bus, including the driver, while the Scion XB involved the crash contained only a driver, according to fire and California Highway Patrol officials.
The tour bus and the Scion were both eastbound on the freeway when, “Somehow, they collided in the number two lane,” CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said. The cause of the initial collision remained under investigation.
“The bus veered all the way to the right, off the roadway, and overturned,” Jimenez said.
The bus came to rest on its side beside traffic lanes, with several passengers trapped inside, CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos said.
Once the injured people had been cared for, the focus shifted to sifting through the wreckage to figure out what happened. CHP Officer Rick Quintero said.
“Initially the primary focus is on the injured parties,” Quintero said. “Now it is just a matter of gathering the evidence on the scene as well as turning over that charter bus and opening up those lanes.”
All lanes in both directions of the 210 Freeway were briefly shut down as helicopters were landed to pick up patients. The eastbound lanes remained closed hours after the collision. Officials worked to reopen traffic lanes as quickly as possible as cars backed up behind the closure.
Early reports from the CHP indicated a semi-truck was involved, though ultimately that was determined not to be the case.
Stopped drivers exited their cars and crossed barriers to see what happened, but were ordered back in their cars by officials
A total of nine agencies took part in the rescue effort and investigation, Tripp said.
“We were crossing the concrete line (on the freeway) and walking to see what was going on, so they cop came by and told everyone to get back in their cars,” said Adrian Canto, who was stuck on the 210 Freeway just west of the Irwindale exit. The Pasadena resident had been on the freeway for more than an hour by 11 a.m.
“There was like a total of 5 helicopters that showed up, now literally a police motorcycle just went by us,” he said. “A couple of those have been going by but they haven’t told us anything.”
The overturned charter bus operated by Da Zhen Travel Agency was en route to San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, according to Da Da Zhen travel consultant Anna Zhang.
The accident reportedly happen after a car cut in front of the bus, causing it to swerve into the embankment in an attempt to avoid a collision, Zhang said.
The company has only had minor fender-benders in the past, Zhang said.
“We’ve never had such a large accident before, the manager and owner are taking it very seriously, they’ve both gone to the scene of the accident to handle the situation,” Zhang said in Mandarin.
Roughly 40 people registered for the bus trip at $15 each, but the company does accept walk-ons at its stops, so the total number of passengers could be higher. The passengers are mostly local, but some came from out of the country, Zhang said.
The company’s bus department went to the scene to find out more information and so details are limited, she said. Multiple families have called in trying to find out what happened.
Da Zhen Travel Agency, based out of Monterey Park, operates charter buses for tours, said Zhang when reached by phone Thursday. A bus schedule from the casino shows 14 Da Zhen Travel buses traveling daily from Hacienda Heights, Monterey Park, Rosemead and San Gabriel to the casino.
The company had a “Satisfactory” safety rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in September of 2010, but exceeded the FMCSA intervention threshold based on roadside data, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation website. A safety report from the Department of Transportation shows that the company is authorized to carry passengers, traveling 598,399 miles in 2011. Da Zhen was the subject of 30 vehicle inspections and 36 driver inspections over the past 24 months and had not been in any reported crashes, the report shows. The company has a current $5,000,000 insurance policy through New York Marine and General Insurance Co. in New York.
- Reporters Zen Vuong, Jason Henry and Melissa Masatani contributed to this story.

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Walnut woman sentenced in Irwindale hit-and-run

POMONA — A Walnut woman was released from jail Wednesday following her sentencing for a hit-and-run crash in Irwindale that left an elderly Baldwin Park woman dead last year, officials said.Ashley Lopez, 22, was sentenced to 360 days jail time, which she was credit for due to time already served, along with five years of formal probation, Pomona Superior Court officials said.Lopez had been in custody since February after pleading no contest late last year to a count of felony hit-and-run following a Nov. 2 collision at Live Oak and Stewart avenues in Irwindale, according to officials and Los Angeles County booking records.Killed in the collision was 80-year-old Cu Lee Nguyen, who was crossing Live Oak Avenue when she was struck by Lopez’s eastbound car, according to Irwindale police. She died at the scene. Lopez was arrested Nov. 5 at her workplace in Irwindale after an investigation identified her as the driver of the car that struck Nguyen, police said.Police said she told investigators she fled the scene of the crash because she was afraid.

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Irwindale man suspected in Azusa school break-in

AZUSA — An Irwindale man was behind bars Sunday after a break-in at Valleydale Elementary School, police said.
Martin Daniel Rosales, 30, was booked on suspicion of Saturday’s 9:30 p.m. burglary at the school, 700 South Lark Ellen Ave., according to Azusa police Acting Sgt. Andy Rodriguez said.
“A citizen observed a subject enter a classroom at Valleydale School through a window,” Rodriguez said in a written statement. “Azusa officers responded to the school and detained Martin Rosales as he left the school grounds.”
Food items believed to have been stolen from the classroom were found discarded nearby, Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe added.
According to county booking records, Rosales was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

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UPDATED: Boy flown to hospital after being struck by car driven by off-duty police sergeant in Irwindale

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IRWINDALE — Rescuers rushed a young boy to a trauma center Thursday after he was struck by a car driven by an off-duty Irwindale police sergeant while riding his scooter across the street, officials said.
The incident took place about 7 p.m. on Calle Del Norte, just east of Irwindale Avenue, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department and California Highway Patrol officials.
The boy, who appeared to be about 7 years old, was flown by helicopter to a hospital in unknown condition, though he was conscious and breathing, CHP Officer Joshua Duran said. The injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
The boy, who lives across the street from Irwindale Park, was riding his electric Razor scooter southbound across Calle Del Norte to meet his family, which was already at the park for an evening concert, the officer said.
After leaving the driveway, he was struck by a westbound Lexus GS 300, Duran said. It was being driven by an off-duty Irwindale police sergeant who was on his way to work at the police station about half a block away from the scene of the crash.
The impact threw the boy about 20 feet, officials said.
His injuries could have been worse, Duran added. “From what I understand, he was wearing a helmet.”
The investigation remained in it’s early stages, however it initially appeared the Lexus was traveling within the speed limit of 25 mph when it struck the boy, Duran added. The name of the police sergeant at the wheel was not released.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP.

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300 marijuana plants seized, three suspects arrested in Irwindale

IRWINDALE — Police discovered over 300 marijuana plants with an estimated value of $375,000 growing in a warehouse and arrested three men, officials announced Wednesday.
Investigators also seized a large amount of marijuana, cash, cultivation equipment and a firearm, according to acting Irwindale Police Chief
George Zendejas.
The incident began at 3:48 p.m. Tuesday when a patrol officer checked an unoccupied vehicle in a parking lot at 851 Meridian Street, discovered the registration expired more than six months ago and impounded it.
“While completing the storage, he discovered a large amount of marijuana inside the vehicle and evidence of a marijuana growing operation,” Zendejas said.
He said detectives served a search warrant at the warehouse on Meridian Street and found a marijuana growing operation. Three men inside the warehouse were arrested.
Kenneth Charles Severs, 31, of Rancho Cucamonga was arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sales while Jarred Edward Knuth, 32, of La Habra and Ryan Eugene Knuth, 35, of Brea, were arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana.
Booking records the three men were booked at Glendora Police jail and released Wednesday morning. It wasn’t clear if they are out on bail.

- Ruby Gonzales

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Officer-involved shooting reported in Irwindale

IRWINDALE – A man was arrested after an officer-involved shooting Thursday morning.

No one was injured in the incident which happened about 10 a.m. at Ramona Boulevard and the San Gabriel riverbed, according to Acting Police Chief George Zendejas.

He said a patrol officer was flagged down because of a disturbance in the area. The officer went to investigate and checked a suspicious person.

The man ran, brandished a firearm and the shooting occurred, Zendejas said.

Jorge Luis Ojeda, 31, of Baldwin Park, was taken into custody after a foot pursuit. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of an officer.

Ojeda is being held at the Baldwin Park police jail with a bail of $100,000. He will be arraigned Monday at West Covina Superior Court.

Baldwin Park police were assisting Irwindale police in the investigation which took place near the border between the two cities, Baldwin Park police Lt. David Reynoso said.

- Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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La Puente boy fatally struck by SUV in Irwindale identified

IRWINDALE — Coroner’s officials Sunday released the name of a 5-year-old La Puente boy who was fatally struck by a car while crossing Arrow Highway with his father and sister.
Ernesto Rodriguez died at a hospital shortly after he was struck by an SUV about 1:30 p.m. Friday in the 1500 block of Arrow Highway, just east of the 605 Freeway, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said.
The boy, his father and his younger sister, who was in a stroller, were on their way to the San Gabriel Dam Recreation Area when the collision occurred, Irwindale police officials said. They were walking north across Arrow Highway mid-block, without a crosswalk.
They had made it across the eastbound traffic lanes and were standing on the center divider when a car driving in the left lane of westbound traffic stopped to let the family cross, according to police and fire officials.
Rodriguez darted out into the westbound lanes, leaving his father and sister behind on the center divider, police said.
The driver of Jeep Cherokee being driven in the right lane of westbound Arrow Highway did not see the child and struck him, officials said. The driver, a woman estimated to be about 50, struck the north curb as she swerved to miss the boy, but was unable to avoid him.
Paramedics rushed the severely injured boy by helicopter to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries a short time later.
Rodriguez’s father and sister were not injured, officials said. The driver of the Jeep was taken to a hospital for examination after complaining of chest pain.

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5-year-old boy struck, critically injured by SUV in Irwindale

IRWINDALE — A 5-year-old boy suffered major injuries when he was struck by an SUV on Arrow Highway Friday, authorities said.
The boy was struck about 1:30 p.m. in the westbound lanes of Arrow Highway, just east of Rivergrade Road, in front of the entrance to the San Gabriel Dam, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.
The boy was flown by helicopter to a trauma center in critical condition, fire Capt. Gerald Gonzales said. When loaded into the helicopter, he had a pulse but was not breathing.
The boy was with his father and younger sister, who was in a stroller, as they tried to cross Arrow Highway mid-block, fire Capt. Gerald Gonzales said. They had already crossed eastbound traffic lanes.
A westbound vehicle stopped to allow the family to cross, and the little boy ran out ahead of his father and sister, the captain said.
A Jeep Cherokee headed west on Arrow Highway in the No. 2 lane failed to see the boy until it was too late, officials said.
The driver, a woman estimated to be about 50, swerved her SUV in an attempt to miss the boy, but was unable to avoid striking him, according to Gonzales.
Officials said the boy was either thrown or carried about 50 feet following the impact. The Jeep collided with the north curb as the driver swerved, flattening at least one tire.
The boy’s father and sister were not injured.
Firefighters took the driver of the Jeep to a hospital after she complained of chest pain, Gonzales added.
The crash was being investigated by the Irwindale Police Department.

 

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Fiery big rig crash slows commute on 210 Freeway in Irwindale

IRWINDALE — A big rig driver escaped a fiery crash without injury early Wednesday after falling asleep at the wheel on the Foothill (210) Freeway, authorities said.
A 32-year-old Rancho Cucamonga man was headed west on the freeway in a 2000 Freightliner, just east of Irwindale Avenue, about 3:30 a.m. when he fell asleep and allowed the truck to veer toward the left, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
The out-of-control truck veered across two traffic lanes and the carpool lane before striking the concrete center divider, officials said. It scraped along the center divider for a distance of about 1,000 feet before coming to a rest west of Irwindale Avenue.
The driver managed to get out of the badly damaged truck and made his way to the right shoulder.
“(The Freightliner’s) fuel tank was damaged during the collision and the fuel contained inside ignited, eventually engulfing (the truck),” according to the CHP statement.
The fire consumed the tractor of the truck, however the trailer did not burn, Sgt. Mike Dulong said. It contained non-flammable concrete slurry.
All lanes of both directions of the 210 Freeway were shut down at the crash scene, CHP officials said. Officers gradually opened lanes as the cleanup operation allowed.
The carpool add fast lanes of the eastbound and westbound sides of the freeway remained shut down until after 7 p.m.

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