LA VERNE — A California Highway Patrol officer helped restore the pulse of a man who had apparently suffered a heart attack while riding as a passenger in a minivan on the 210 Freeway, officials said.
CHP Officer Ruth Rodriguez responded to a medical emergency call about 11 a.m. when she encountered the couple stopped in their 2013 Honda Odyssey, California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said in a written statement. The passenger, 81-year-old Dimitri Cocea, was unconscious and unresponsive.
“Mr. Cocea’s wife informed Officer Rodriguez that Mr. Cocea was having a heart attack. Officer Rodriguez checked for vitals and could not find a pulse and Mr. Cocea was not breathing,” Jimenez said.
“Officer Rodriguez then began chest compressions in an attempt to resuscitate Mr. Cocea,” he said. Due to Mr. Cocea’s position within the vehicle, Officer Rodriguez was not able to perform rescue breathing. Officer Rodriguez continued chest compressions until she was relieved by Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel.”
Paramedics rushed Cocea to a the Pomona Valley Medical Center, where he arrived with a pulse, the officer said. “Mr. Cocea is alive due to the rescue efforts of Officer Ruth Rodriguez.”
LA VERNE — A fire scorched an apartment Thursday afternoon, however no injuries were reported, authorities said.
The fire ignited about 3:40 p.m. at a second-floor apartment unit int he 2600 block of Sycamore Drive, La Verne Fire Department spokeswoman Rafaela Giles said.
Firefighters declared the fire knocked down 24 minutes later, she said.
The cause of the fire, as well as the extent of the damage, was not immediately clear.
LA VERNE — A man and woman suffered serious injuries when they motorcycle they were riding crashed on the 210 Freeway Saturday, authrorities said.
The crash took place just after 11 a.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway at Fruit Street in La Verne, California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs said.
Initial reports indicated the man and woman were riding a Harley-Davidson-style motorcycle with a group of other cyclists when their bike went down, Jacobs said.
Rescuers landed a helicopter on the freeway to take the injured riders to a trauma center, he added. One of the riders was believed to have suffered a broken hip, among other injuries.
CHP officials shut down all but the carpool lane of the westbound 210 Freeway for more than half and hour following the crash, causing traffic in the area to back up significantly.
The cause of the crash is being investigated by officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP.
LA VERNE — A man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder for the shooting of his wife earlier this week at a La Verne home was released from jail Wednesday after prosecutors declined to file a case against him, authorities said.
Michael Banda, 45, was released from custody after the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to file a case against him, citing “insufficient evidence,” D.A.’s spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
Further details regarding the investigation were not available Wednesday. Handling La Verne police detectives could not be reached for comment.
Banda was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder shortly after the 3 p.m. shooting in the 4300 block of Edminster Drive, La Verne police Capt. Nick Paz said.
His wife had been shot in the neck and shoulder during an argument, police said. The wounds were not considered to be life-threatneing. A .22-caliber revolver was taken from the home.
Banda was initially held in lieu of $1 million bail, but released from the La Verna Police Department’s Jail about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday after prosecutors declined to charge him.
LA VERNE — A 25-year-old La Verne man is accused of drunken driving after crashing his car in a constuction zone on the 210 Freeway, injuring two California Highway Patrol officers, authorities said.
Thomas Lapatka was treated for minor injuries and booked on suspicion of felony drunken driving at the sheriff’s San Dimas Station following the crash, CHP Sgt. Chris Hamilton said.
Two CHP officers suffered minor injuries, and their patrol car was significantly damaged in the collision, which took place just before 1 a.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway at Foothill Boulevard, the sergeant said.
They were assisting workers with a construction closure in which all lanes of westbound traffic were being gradually directed to the carpool lane by cones and sign boards, Hamilton said.
They were stopped within the closure, with the patrol car’s overhead lights activated, he said.
“According to witness statements, they see him fly by through the cones and pass them,” Hamilton said. “Their statements put him well over the 65 mph speed limit. Some witnesses put him at over 80 mph.”
Lapatka’s 2010 Mercedes E350 struck an electronic board that was displaying an arrow, ushering traffic toward the carpool lane, the sergeant said. The sign board then struck the patrol car, causing significant damage and injuring the two officers inside.
Officials at first were uncertain of the extent of the officers’ injuries, and they were taken to a hospital for treatment, Hamilton said.
“Thank goodness, once they got there, the doctors evaluated them and within a few hours they were released with minor injuries,” he said.
Lapatka was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, Hamilton said.
He was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court, according to county booking records.
An armed bank robbery suspect led La Verne police on a freeway chase before crashing his car and being captured by officers, authorities said.
The robbery was reported about 1:30 p.m. at a La Verne Wells Fargo Branch, 1487 Foothill Blvd., a La Verne police dispatcher said.
Officers soon spotted the suspect’s car — a gray or silver sedan — and initiated a pursuit, officials said.
The chase went west on the Foothill (210) Freeway, then south on the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway.
The fleeing driver exited the freeway and ultimately crashed on Myrtle Avenue, just north of Live Oak Avenue, in an unincorporated county area between Irwindale and Arcadia, according to initial reports from the scene. The suspect continued to flee on foot but was captured nearby.
Officers continued searching the area near where the pursuit ended for evidence.
No injuries were reported in the bank robbery.
Further details were not immediately available.
LA VERNE — A man who called La Verne police Wednesday threatening to kill himself was later found in a parked car with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
An officer found the car on C Street, south of Arrow Highway just after 6 p.m.
“We received a call from him,” Sgt. Ray Steitz said.
The man said by the time police found him it would be too late, according Steitz.
The sergeant said the man was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
- Ruby Gonzales
HAWAIIAN GARDENS — Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and La Verne police shot and wounded two suspects Thursday during a multi-agency operation in Hawaiian Gardens, officials said.
The shooting took place jsut before 5:30 p.m. at Horst Avenue and 216th Street, according to Deputy Benjamin Grubb of the Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau.
“The shooting occurred as a multiple police agency task force was conducting an investigation,” Grubb said in a written statement. “No deputies nor La Verne police officers were injured. Two suspects were wounded and transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. There are no outstanding suspects.”
“There is no further information at this time,” he added.
POMONA — A single-engine airplane en route to Brackett Field in La Verne crashed at the Pomona Fairplex Friday, killing the pilot, authorities said.
The airplane, identified by Federal Aviation Administration officials as a Mooney M20M, “crashed under unknown circumstances around 2:15 p.m. approximately 1 mile southeast of Brackett Field, near the Pomona Fairgrounds,” FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said in a written statement.
One person was pronounced dead at the scene, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said. No other injuries were reported.
The airplane crashed near the southeast corner of the grandstands at the Fairplex’s racetrack, officials added. The crash did not ignite a fire.
The aircraft’s marking indicated it was registered to a Pasadena law firm.
Friday’s incident was the second fatal small plane crash near Brackett Field in recent years.
Husband and wife Charles and Renee Shaffer of La Verne died March 14, 2009, when their Piper Dakota suddenly lost altitude and went down in Pomona shortly after take-off from Brackett Field.
The couple’s plane crashed into a hillside near the 2600 block of Pomona Boulevard, about 2 miles from the scene of Friday’s crash.