FULLERTON >> A La Mirada woman accused of molesting three boys she met through the Fullerton junior high school where she taught math pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 10 felony charges, authorities said.
At at arraignment hearing in Orange County Superior Court, Melissa Nicole Lindgren denied five charges of committing lewd acts on a child, two counts of committing lewd acts on a child under 14 and three counts of distributing pornography to a minor, Orange County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Roxi Fyad said. She is also accused of the special allegation of lewd acts on multiple children, which could increase her sentence if convicted.
Lindgren, who remained free on a $100,000 bond, was ordered to return to court June 13 for a pretrial hearing, Fyad said.
She is accused of molesting and trading explicit text messages with three boys, ages 13 to 15, that she met while teaching math at Nicolas Junior High School in Fullerton,
She was reportedly placed on leave from the Fullerton School Disstrict at the outset of the investigation.
The alleged crimes took place during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. She’s accused of molesting two of the boys in a school classroom, and the third off-campus while the two met in a car.
Lindgren traded sexually explicit messages with the three boys, prosecutors allege. She was arrested Feb. 21.
If convicted as charged, Lindgren faces up to 16 years and 4 months in state prison.
LA MIRADA — A big rig that crashed and erupted into flames forced the closure of all but one lane of the northbound 5 Freeway in La Mirada early Sunday, officials said.
The driver escaped unharmed following the 2 a.m. crash on the freeway near Valley View Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Polizzi said.
But the crash created a fiery wreck that snarled traffic for more than nine hours, officials said.
The big rig, which was believed to be the only vehicle involved in the crash, struck and damaged a 100-foot length of guardrail before catching fire, Polizzi said. Officials reported diesel fuel leaking into the roadway as well.
After firefighters initially extinguished the flames, the scorched truck rekindled shortly after 4:30 a.m., according to CHP logs.
All but the fast lane of the northbound 5 Freeway was shut down at Valley View Avenue as officials cleared the wreckage and made repairs to the damaged guardrail, Polizzi said. The No. 2 lane was reopened just before 11 a.m.
No estimate of when the two right lanes of the freeway would reopen was available.
LA MIRADA — Deputies arrested two alleged drunken drivers during a checkpoint late Saturday and early Sunday, authorities said.
The checkpoint was held from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Imperial Highway at Santa Gertrudes Avenue, officials from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Norwalk Station said in a written statement.
Of the more than 1,500 cars that passed through the checkpoint, deputies screened 1,281 drivers.
In addition to the two drunken driving arrests, deputies arrested five people for driving on suspended or revoked licenses and seven people for driving without licenses, according to the sheriff’s department statement.
Four vehicles were impounded for 30 days during the checkpoint, and seven vehicles were stored for one day, officials said. Three cars were released to license drivers during the checkpoint.
Deputies at the neighboring sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station also held a checkpoint Saturday night, the Whittier Police Department held one late Friday. Results from those checkpoints were not available Sunday.
LA MIRADA — Homicide detectives are investigating the fatal shooting of a man in a residential neighborhood early Sunday.
The shooting was first reported just after 12:40 a.m. in the 13400 block of Bona Vista Lane, Deputy Mark Pope of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement.
“The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead,” Pope said.
Deputies initially responded to a report of a shooting in which bullets penetrated a family’s home, Lt. Eric Smitson of the sheriff’s Norwalk Station said.
As deputies were talking to residents and checking the area for possible suspects, they were notified by Whittier police that a man had arrived at the emergency room of PIH Health Hospital in Whittier, Smitson said.
The man, whose identity was not available, died at the hospital a short time later, officials said. It was unclear who brought him to the hospital. Coroner’s officials described him as a man appearing to be in his 20s.
No information regarding the shooter or shooters was available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously through L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LA MIRADA — A man was hospitalized with severe burns after he caught fire while igniting a fire in a fireplace, authorities said.
The 82-year-old man’s wife used a kitchen pan to douse the flames with water before firefighters rushed him to a burn center with third-degree burns over about 50 percent of his body, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Greg Lombardo said.
The woman was taken to a hospital, estimated to be in her late-70s, appeared unharmed but was taken to a hospital as a precaution, officials said.
Officials first responded to the fire about 12:35 p.m. in the 13000 block of Gandara Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Jason Skeen said.
The man had been trying to light a fire in the fireplace when items nearby caught fire, as well as the man’s clothing, Lombardo said.
His wife, who was in the backyard at the time, came into the home. “He was on fire when she found him,” Skeen said.
The woman grabbed a kitchen pan and used to douse the fire, which was all-but-extinguished when firefighters arrived, Lombardo said.
Firefighters rushed the badly injured man to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center for treatment.
The fire was determined to be accidental in nature, Lombardo said.
LA MIRADA — Deputies arrested to driver’s accused of driving under the influence of marijuana during a DUI checkpoint late Saturday and early Sunday, officials said.
Officials screened all 1,768 drivers of the vehicles that passed through the checkpoint, held on Imperial Highway just east of Valley View Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
In addition to the two DUI arrests, five drivers with suspended or revoked licenses were arrested, along with seven unlicensed drivers, officials said.
Nine vehicles were impounded for one day, five vehicles were impounded for 30 days, and 10 vehicles were released to to other drivers per checkpoint procedures, officials added.
Sheriff’s officials are planning to screen drivers for sobriety and valid drivers’ licenses during checkpoints Friday and Saturday in Pico Rivera and La Mirada, authorities said.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station are planning a checkpoint from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within Pico Rivera, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Norwalk Station are planning another checkpoint from 7 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday at an undisclosed location within La Mirada, officials added.
The checkpoints are being funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
LA MIRADA — Coroner’s officials Wednesday released the name of a Norwalk man found shot to death near a La Mirada bus stop Sunday evening.
Frank Mario Sainz, 46, was pronounced dead shortly after he was found lying in a pool of blood about 6:10 p.m. Sunday in the 14300 block of Alondra Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Capt. John Kades said.
An autopsy determined he died from “multiple gunshot wounds,” Kades said. The death was ruled a homicide.
He was believed to have been seated on a bus stop bench when he was shot, according to Lot. Dave Coleman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. He was first spotted early Sunday by a bus driver.
No information regarding a shooter or a motive was available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
LA MIRADA — Homicide detectives are investigating the mysterious death of a man who was discovered lying in a pool of blood along Alondra Boulevard in La Mirada Sunday afternoon.
A bus driver first came across the man and called authorities about 6:10 p.m. in and industrial area in the 14300 block of Alondra Boulevard, Deputy Kim Manatt of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement.
“A driver of a Metro bus was traveling westbound on Alondra Boulevard before slowing at a bus stop,” she said. “The driver noticed a man laying in a pool of blood in the gutter of the roadway near the bus stop.”
The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Manatt said. His cause of death was unclear, and no information was released regarding what sort of injuries he may have suffered. An autopsy was to be carried out by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.
WEST COVINA – A man ended up at a convenience store after being stabbed at a house party early Saturday, however the circumstances of the attack were unclear,police said.
Police responded to 7-Eleven, 2887 Valley Blvd., just before 3:20 a.m. after the a La Mirada man in his 20s with a stab wound to his upper torso was brought there by friends, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The group was looking for a hospital when they elected to stop at the convenience store and call 9-1-1, the lieutenant said. The injured man was hospitalized in stable condition.
Officers learned the victim had been at a nearby house party when a fight broke out and he was stabbed, however police were not able to find exactly where it took place, Patton said. No suspect description was available.