WEST COVINA >> A physician from La Verne died late Friday in a solo-car crash along Cameron Avenue in West Covina, police said.
Delroy Stelmo Hewling, 68, died at the scene of the 7 p.m. crash in the 2600 block of East Cameron Avenue, just east of Citrus Street, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Hewling was at the wheel of a Nissan Maxima that veered to the side of the road and struck a parked Chevrolet Camaro, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said. West Covina Fire Department paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation by the West Covina Police Department’s Major Accident Investigation Team, Patton said.
Officials were looking into the possibility Hewling may have suffered a medical problem prior to the crash. His cause of death was to be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
According to California Medical Board records, Hewling practiced medicine out of an office in West Covina.
He graduated the University of the West Indies in Jamaica in 1971, and was first licensed to practice medicine in California in 1981, records show.
LA VERNE >> A pilot escaped serious injury after a small airplane crashed at Brackett Field Airport and burst into flames, officials said.
The crash took place at 1:44 p.m. as the pilot was attempting to land at the small airfield, 1615 McKinley Ave., La Verne Fire Department Administrative Clerk Lauren Burtz said.
The landing came short, officials said.
“The aircraft, type currently unknown, struck a perimeter fence upon landing,” Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.
Kenitzer later described the craft as a single-engine Cessna 210. But the identifying “tail number” was not available. Cessna 210 airplanes generally seat six.
Burtz said the airplane ended up upside-down on top of the flattened fence along Fairplex Drive and quickly became engulfed in flames.
But the pilot managed to escape the wreckage, and La Verne firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, officials said.
Kenitzer said initial reports indicated two people were on board, however, Burtz said firefighters treated only one patient, the pilot.
Officials took the pilot to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center by helicopter for treatment, Burtz said. An update on the pilot’s condition was not available.
Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.
PHOTOS by Leo Jarzomb
GLENDORA >> Coroner’s officials Sunday identified a 23-year-old La Verne man who died after his motorcycle collided with two cars along Arrow Highway Saturday afternoon.
Nathan Puga died in the 12:04 p.m. crash on westbound Arrow Highway, just east of Sunflower Avenue, in an unincorporated county area near Glendora, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Betsy Magdaleno said.
He was riding a 2015 Kawasaki Ninja at about 80 mph in the left-hand lane just before the fatal collision, Officer K. Croxford of the California High Patrol’s Baldwin Park area office said in a written statement. In front of him was a 2010 Volkswagen Passat traveling at about 10 mph, having just made a left turn onto Arrow Highway from a parking lot.
“ Due to Puga’s unsafe speed, he was unable to maintain control of his vehicle and struck the left side of the Volkswagen Passat,” Croxford said. “The force of his impact caused Puga to veer to right before the Kawasaki overturned onto its left side.”
The motorcycle and rider then slid into the rear of a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta stopped along the curb.
Paramedics pronounced Puga dead at the scene, officials said. Neither driver was injured.
The investigation was ongoing, and witnesses are encouraged to contact the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office at 626-338-1164.
LA VERNE >> A 68-year-old La Verne man died when his Corvette veered off the rain-slickened roadway and overturned on the 210 Freeway late Friday, officials said.
David Brighton of La Verne died in the 6:20 p.m. crash along the westbound 210 Freeway, just west of Foothill Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
He was driving a 1993 Chevrolet Corvette in the right-hand lane at 75 to 80 mph just prior to the crash, Officer J. Ortiz of the California Highway Patrol’s Baldwin Park Office said in a written statement.
“Due to excessive speed in wet/raining conditions, (Brighton) lost control, which caused the Chevrolet Corvette to veer off the roadway, overturning in the process,” Ortiz said.
Paramedics pronounced Brighton dead at the scene.
Any witnesses to the crash were encouraged to contact the CHP’s Baldwin Park Office at 626-338-1164.
POMONA >> Sheriff’s homicide detectives investigating the mysterious slaying of an Elderly La Verne couple in their home late last year plan to canvass a Pomona neighborhood Friday for motorists, pedestrians and train passengers who may have key information to help solve the case, officials said.
Armie “Troy” Isom, 89, and wide Shirley Isom, 74, were found fatally stabbed and beaten on Dec. 26, inside their home at the end of secluded Roughrider Road in an unincorporated near La Verne, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
The case remains unsolved.
““We have not determined a motive,” Lt. David Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said last week.
“We’re still working all the clues that came in,” the lieutenant said. “We have multiple leads we are following.” Coleman declined to discuss what those leads were.
The search continues for a man spotted by neighbors walking away from the Isoms’ sprawling estate shortly before the couple was found mortally wounded.
The man, who has since been labeled a suspect in the killing, was last reported to be walking south from the isolated neighborhood where the victims lived. But he has not been found.
In an effort to develop new leads in the investigation, and track down the mysterious suspect, deputies plan to pass out fliers to drivers in the 3100 block of Garey Avenue in Pomona Friday.
The flier will include a composite sketch of the suspect previously released to the public in early January, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. The canvassing will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in the 3100 block of Garey Avenue, just south of the Isom’s neighborhood.
The operation is being held on the same day of the week as the killing, and covering the same time of day. Troy and Shirley Isom were discovered slain shortly after 1 p.m. on the day after Christmas.
“As people come through, we’ll hand out fliers and ask them a couple simple questions,” Lt. Andy Berg of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said.
Deputies will ask drivers and pedestrians if they were in the same area on the afternoon of Dec. 26, and whether they’ve seen the man pictured in the sketch.
Deputies will strive to delay motorists as briefly as possible, Berg said. Deputies will not be looking for traffic violations, he said. They will not even ask driver’s names, unless they have information pertinent to the double-homicide investigation. Homicide detectives will be on-hand to interview anyone who may be able to help.
At the same time, deputies will be aboard commuter trains on the nearby San Bernardino Line passing out fliers and questioning passengers, Nishida said. No trains will be delayed as a result of the canvassing.
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
— Staff writer Ruby Gonzales contributed to this report.
LA VERNE >> Investigators continued trying to make sense Saturday of the fatal stabbing and beating of an elderly couple in their home near here.
No suspect was in custody in connection with the deaths of Armie “Troy” Isom, 89, and his wife, Shirley Isom, 74, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. The Isoms were both found mortally wounded shortly after 1 p.m. Friday near the entrance of their home in the 300 block of Roughrider Road in an unincorporated area.
Sheriff’s officials identified the man as Armie Isom. Neighbors, who said the couple had lived in their home about two decades, knew the husband as Troy.
Paramedics pronounced Shirley Isom dead at the scene. Her husband was taken to a hospital in critical condition, where he ultimately succumbed to his wounds.
Detectives and crime scene investigators returned to the scene Saturday to continue collecting and cataloguing evidence.
No suspect had been identified, and the motive in the double-killing remained unknown.
“This is a mystery. This is going to take a lot of detective work,” said Lt. Dave Coleman of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Shirley Isom appeared to have suffered both stab wounds and blunt force injuries, the lieutenant said.
Troy Isom had been beaten, but it remained unclear whether he had also been stabbed, Coleman said.
The knife used in the stabbing had not been recovered, he said. Coleman declined to discuss what sort of blunt object was involved in the attack.
Detectives ruled out the possibility of a murder-suicide. Coleman said both the man and woman were homicide victims.
And Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. David Smith said a “security hold” placed on the case by sheriff’s investigators prevented his agency from discussing it.
Coleman said detectives were yet to discover any valuables missing from the home.
It was unclear how the killer got into the home, he said. “There’s no obvious point of entry.”
The couple are survived by five children, Coleman said.
A woman who answered the phone at the home of the one of the victim’s daughters said the family was also awaiting further information about what happened to the Isoms as they deal with their sudden and tragic loss.
“There’s no words,” the woman said. She did not wish to comment further.
Deputies who first responded to the crime scene scoured the area for a suspicious man with a backpack that several witnesses said they saw at or near the Isoms’ property just before the attack was discovered.
Neighbors described the man as between 25 and 30 years old, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a backpack.
Coleman said the description did not match anyone who was supposed to be on the property Friday and detectives are seeking him for an interview.
“We’re trying to identify all of the workers who should have been there,” Coleman said.
But the lieutenant did not label the person seen by neighbors as a suspect in the killing, though he said the man’s potential involvement had not been ruled out.
Investigators planned to return to the crime scene Sunday to finish their search of the property, Coleman said. Detectives planned to use search dogs and searchers mounted on horseback to ensure a thorough examination of the massive, brush-laden property on a private road at the end of Roughrider Road.
Once work is completed with the plentiful physical evidence at the scene — which included a ”tremendous amount of blood,” Coleman said the investigation will shift to a broader focus as detectives look over the couple’s business dealings and personal lives for possible clues.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
LA VERNE >> A woman and her husband died following an attack inside their home Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The attack occurred in the 300 block of Roughrider Road in an unincorporated county area near La Verne.
Neighbor Don Mineer identified the couple as Shirley and Troy Isom.
The woman, 74, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, according to Lt. Dave Coleman of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. Her husband, 89, was found wounded and later succumbed to his injuries.
Though neighbors knew the man as Troy, sheriff’s officials identified hime as Arnie Isom.
Early reports indicated the couple had been stabbed but Coleman declined to discuss the injuries, which were also described by officials as “blunt force trauma.”
A “grounds keeper” called the sheriff’s San Dimas Sheriff’s station after finding the married couple unresponsive inside the home, Coleman said.
Firefighters responded to a rescue call at 1:16 p.m. involving two critically injured patients, according to county fire Capt. Keith Mora.
“We are very early in the investigation,” said Coleman. “It’s an expansive scene.”
The couple were found near the entryway of the home, Coleman said.
Jose Tamayo, a gardener who was working nearby, reported seeing a man exit the property minutes before the incident was discovered.
Tamayo said the man was wearing a green jacket with a hood, a baseball cap and jeans. He said the man picked up a backpack from nearby bushes, put it on and walked away.
Mineer said he saw a similar man walking down the road as he was driving home.
“He wasn’t hurrying, but he wasn’t wasting a lot of time,” Mineer said. “Now that I think about it, he looked like he was trying to be inconspicuous.”
Lorrie Guzzy, who lives on a nearby street, said she saw a man walking up Live Oak Canyon Road toward Roughrider Road between noon and 12:30 p.m. and thought he was suspicious.
“He didn’t look like a hiker,” Guzzy said. “He looked homeless.”
She said another neighbor also saw the man.
“It just didn’t look right. I wish both of us had called (police),” Guzzy said.
The Isoms lived at the home on a private road at the end of Roughrider Road, Mineer said.
“He’s a good guy and a good friend,” Mineer said, adding that Troy was a contractor.
He thinks the couple lived there for about 20 years.
“(Troy) told my wife he had a shotgun loaded by the door. I think I’ll load mine too,” Mineer said.
Deputies initially responding to the incident sought a man seen leaving the area between age 25 and 30, and between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall. He reportedly wore an orange or blue hooded sweatshirt and carried a green or red backpack. Several people matching the description were detained and questioned in the area, but none were linked to the crime.
But homicide investigators would not confirm the description and did not label the suspicious man reported by neighbors as a suspect int he killing.
PHOTO by Jeo Jarzomb
LA VERNE >> A 150-pound tortoise disappeared from a La Verne backyard last week in what police are investigating as a theft, officials said.
Residents of the 4700 block of Camber Avenue called police on Oct. 9 to report the enormous sulcata tortoise had been taken from their backyard, La Verne police Sgt. Sam Gonzalez said.
The theft took place sometime between 5 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 a.m. Oct. 9, he said.
Anyone with information can reach La Verne police at 909-596-1913.
LA VERNE >> La Verne police arrested a man and three teenagers early Sunday accused of a crime spree including an armed carjacking in La Verne, as well as armed robberies in La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and Upland in recent days.
Officers arrested Edwin Miguel Garcia, 18, of Pomona, and three teenage boys from Pomona were arrested in connection with the series of crimes after tracking them down in Pomona about 2:30 a.m., according to La Verne police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. Officials withheld the names of the juvenile suspects due to their age.
A man called police just before 11 p.m. Saturday to report being robbed and carjacked outside the Shogun Restaurant, 2123 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne, La Verne police Sgt. Sam Gonzalez said.
“Upon arrival, officers received information that three armed suspects demanded money and a cellular phone from the victim before forcibly taking his vehicle and fleeing the scene,” Gonzalez said.
A short time later, police received a second call from a bicyclist reporting he had been robbed by a group of young men in the 1900 block of Dover Way, police said.
“A preliminary investigation revealed the same subjects from the earlier carjacking were also responsible for the incident on Dover Way,” Gonzalez said.
Police found the four suspects in the area of Towne Avenue and the 10 Freeway in Pomona, Gonzalez said. Officers arrested them without a struggle.
They were found with the carjacked car, as well as a second car that had been reported stolen.
“Upon further investigation it was discovered the suspects arrested were responsible for similar crimes in the cities of Claremont, Pomona, and Upland,” Gonzalez said.
All of the crimes took place within recent days, he added.
In addition to the two stolen cars, the suspects were in possession of a loaded gun, two replica guns, stolen property and drugs, Gonzalez said.
Garcia was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail and the La Verne Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance, records show.
LA VERNE >> Police and school officials placed Bonita High School in La Verne on lockdown Wednesday after an anonymous tipster reported a student had brought a gun to the campus, authorities said. No weapon was found.
The La Verne Police Department received an anonymous phone call about 10:30 a.m. reporting had a handgun with him at the campus, 3102 D Street, Bonita Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Curtis Frick said.
“The administration, as we’ve practiced many times, put the school in a lockdown to secure the campus,” Frick said. “Police arrived and began investigation.”
The school remained locked down for about an hour, he said. The lockdown was lifted about 11:40 a.m., after investigators determined there was no weapon on campus.
Students were released at noon, Frick said. An early release schedule was already planned Wednesday to accommodate a staff development day.
The phone call made to La Verne police came from what appeared to be a prepaid cell phone, La Verne police Lt. Tom Frayeh said.
Police were looking into the possibility the unfounded phone call was related to an incident that had just unfolded at the school, the lieutenant added.
Just prior to the phone call, police and school officials had detained a 15-year-old sophomore on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sales at the school, Frayeh said. The teen was arrested and released to his parents with a court date.
But a second 15-year-old boy, who police suspected was trying to buy marijuana from the other boy, ran from the school, police said.
As police were searching for the second teen, the anonymous phone call reporting a weapon on campus was received, Frayeh said.
Though a concrete link had not been established, police were looking into the possibility someone may have made the bogus report to distract officials from their search for the second teen, Frayeh said.
The freshman was found and arrested about the same time the phone call came in, he added.