Woman flown to hospital following La Verne traffic collision

LA VERNE — Officials flew a woman to a trauma center as a precautionary measure Saturday following a two-vehicle crash in a residential neighborhood, authorities said.
The crash took place just after 3 p.m. at Via Campo and Via De Mansion, La Verne police Lt. Gary Mason said. It involved an older-model Toyota pickup truck and a Toyota Camry.
The Camry was making a left turn into a driveway when it collided with the pickup truck, the lieutenant said.
A woman estimated to be between 18 and 20 years old who was riding as a passenger in the pickup truck struck her head against the windshield, Mason said. She was wearing a seat belt, but it appeared the latch that held the belt in place was not working properly.
Her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, however paramedics flew her to a hospital for treatment as a precaution, Mason said. The driver of the pickup truck, the injured woman’s father, was unhurt. The lone woman inside the Camry also avoided injury.
The cause of the crash was under investigation.

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Sobriety checkpoints planned this weekend in La Verne, San Dimas, La Puente

Police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be screening drivers for sobriety and valid drivers’ licenses during three checkpoints planned this weekend in La Verne, San Dimas and La Puente.
The La Verne Police Department will hold a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint Friday.
The checkpoint will run From 6 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location in the city, police officials said in a written statement.
Also Friday, sheriff’s deputies will be holding a checkpoint from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. the following morning at an undisclosed location within San Dimas, authorities said.
And deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station plan to hold a checkpoint from 7 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. the following morning within La Puente, officials added.
Funding for the operations is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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CHP officer, paramedics resuscitate man following apparent heart attack on 210 Freeway in La Verne

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.”

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Fire scorches La Verne apartment

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.

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Man and woman hurt in 210 Freeway motorcycle crash in La Verne

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.

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Man arrested in connection with La Verne shooting released without charges

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.

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Two CHP officers hurt, La Verne man accused of DUI following 210 Freeway crash

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.

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La Verne bank robbery suspect arrested after chase, crash

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.

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Suicidal man discovered fatally shot in La Verne

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

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UPDATE: 29-year-old killed in motorcycle crash on the 210 Freeway in La Verne

LA VERNE — A 29-year-old man died following a motorcycle crash early Thursday after being cut off by a van on the 210 Freeway, authorities said.
James Chappell was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after the 6:55 a.m. crash on the westbound 210 Freeway, just east of Fruit Street, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Dulong said. His address was listed in Crescent City, though he was believed to have been staying with family in Upland.
Chappell was riding hi 2002 Honda CBR600 motorcycle in the carpool lane at an undetermined speed prior to the crash, Dulong said.
Ahead of him and in the freeway’s fast lane, a 58-year-old Claremont man was driving a 2010 Ford E-350 van at 65 to 70 mph, the sergeant said.
“The van approached slower-moving traffic, braked and then changed into the carpool lane, crossing the double yellow line, directly into the path of the motorcyclist,” Dulong said.
Chappell was unable to avoid a collision and crashed into the rear of the van, he said.
Despite wearing a helmet, Chappell suffered major injuries including head injuries, according to Dulong. He was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The crash was being investigated by the Baldwin Park office of the California Highway Patrol. No arrests or citations had been made.
The wreckage blocked the carpool and fast lane of the westbound freeway for more than an hour as rescuers tended to the injured rider and CHP officers investigated the scene, CHP Officer Ed Jacobs said.
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