Man accused of kidnapping, raping Monterey Park woman; victim escaped by jumping from moving car on freeway in El Monte

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MONTEREY PARK >> A task force arrested a man Tuesday in East Los Angeles whom Monterey Park police had been seeking for kidnapping, raping and assaulting his ex-girlfriend last week, authorities said.
The terrified victim may have saved her own life by jumping from a moving car on the 60 Freeway in El Monte on Oct. 28, the day after she was kidnapped at gunpoint by ex-boyfriend Benny Torres, 29, Monterey Park police Lt. Bill Cuevas said. Torres’ last listed address was in Montebello, though he was believed to have most recently been transient.
The woman, a Monterey Park resident in her 20s, was treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries she suffered at the hands of her captor, as well as in her escape, Cuevas said.
“She bravely, by her actions, basically saved her own life.”
Prosecutors Wednesday filed 11 felony charges against Torres, according to a felony complaint filed in Alhambra Superior Court.
The charges include kidnapping, two counts of rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of making criminal threats, assault with a deadly weapons, assault with a firearm, burglary and false imprisonment.
The victim had recently broken up with Torres amid allegations that he had assaulted her in an incident of domestic violence in Montebello, Cuevas said.
Torres arranged to meet his ex-girlfriend on the afternoon of Oct. 27 in Los Angeles, Cuevas said.
But when she arrived, Torres pulled a handgun, got into her car and ordered her to start driving, officials said.
The attacker eventually took the wheel of the woman’s car himself and drove her to a motel in El Monte, where he held her captive overnight, the lieutenant said.
“The victim was both sexually and physically abused,” Cuevas said.
Torres ordered the woman back into her car the following morning and began driving her somewhere, police said. The woman did not know where Torres was taking her.
“The victim was in fear for her life,” Cuevas said.
As the car travelled down the 60 Freeway, near the 605 Freeway in El Monte, the woman saw an opportunity to escape.
“At one point, while they were driving, she was able to jump out of the vehicle,” Cuevas said.
It was unclear how fast the car was driving when she leapt.
A good Samaritan found the woman wandering in the area and took her to a hospital, officials said. The hospital notified authorities once they determined the woman had been the victim of an attack.
The woman suffered injuries both at the hands of Torres, as well as when she jumped from the moving car, Cuevas said. She had since been treated and released from an area hospital.
Detectives began hunting for Torres with help from the West San Gabriel Anti Crime Task Force, which is made up of officers from the Monterey Park, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, El Monte police departments, as well as officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Probation, task force coordinator and Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said.
Task force members found and arrested Torres about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday at a relative’s home in the 4000 block of E. 2nd Street in East Los Angeles, according to officials and booking records. Officers arrested him without a struggle.
Torres entered no plea at an appearance Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court, court officials said. His arraignment hearing was postponed to Nov. 24.
If convicted as charged, Torres could face life in state prison, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Torres remained behind bars Wednesday at the Monterey Park Police Department’s jail in lieu of $2.35 million bail, officials said.

PHOTO of Benny Torres, 29, courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.

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Boy fatally struck by ice cream truck in South Los Angeles

SOUTH LOS ANGELES >> A young boy died after being struck by an ice cream truck late Wednesday, and bystanders attacked the driver at the scene, police said.
The collision took place about 7:15 p.m. in the 200 block of east 97th Street, near Wall Street, Los Angeles police Officer Muria Vanegas said.
“An ice cream truck struck the little boy, who was on a bicycle,” Vanegas said. “He was transported to a hospital in serious condition, and unfortunately, he passed away.”
The boy’s exact age was not available.
Neighbors at the scene assaulted the ice cream truck driver, who suffered apparently minor injuries, Vanegas said.
There were no initial signs of any crime on the part of the driver, she added.
Detectives from the LAPD’s South Traffic Division were handling the investigation.

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Van Nuys woman, 22, fatally struck by alleged DUI driver on Sepulveda Blvd. sidewalk

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VAN NUYS — A 22-year-old Van Nuys woman died early Sunday after an alleged drunken driver struck her as she walked along a Sepulveda Boulevard sidewalk, authorities said.
Haley Dawn Coreas died in the 12:45 a.m. crash in the 6300 block of Sepulveda Boulevard, just south if Victory Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Betsy Magdaleno said.
The woman was walking on a sidewalk in front of a recreational vehicle rental business when she was struck by a Toyota 4Runner SUV.
“A suspected DUI vehicle traveling southbound Sepulveda, south of Victory, went off the roadway (and) collided with a pedestrian on the sidewalk,” Los Angeles police Officer Sally Madera said.
Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics pronounced Coreas dead at the scene at 1:05 a.m., Magdaleno said.
“The driver of the vehicle was taken into custody,” Madera said.
The identity of the suspected DUI driver was not available Sunday. It was unclear whether the driver was injured the crash.
The investigation was be handled by the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division.

PHOTO by Rick McClure

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Tourist carjacked in Pasadena after meeting woman at L.A. bar

PASADENA >> A first date turned into a carjacking early Saturday after an Argentina man visiting Southern California had his rental car stolen by a woman he had just met and an accomplice, police said.
The carjacking took place just after 3 a.m. at Allen Avenue and Corson Street, Pasadena police Lt. Ed Calatayud said.
But the incident began earlier in the night, when the 31-year-old victim met a woman at a Los Angeles bar, the lieutenant said.
The man was drunk when he agreed to go for a ride with the woman, Calatayud said. She drove, due to the man’s intoxication.
The woman pulled over in Pasadena and the two began talking when a carjacker approached the car from the passenger side, police said. The carjacker pulled the victim from the car and struck him in the head before climbing in to the passenger seat of the rented car.
Calatayud said the woman then drove off with her accomplice. In addition to the car, the carjackers also made off with the victim’s luggage.
The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for moderate injuries and released later Saturday morning.
Police described the carjackers as a black woman, between 20 and 30 years old and of thin build, along with a heavyset black man between 20 and 30. The 2013 Toyota Corolla they were last seen in had a California license plate number of 6ZTK556. The color was not available.

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Small fire reported at Fox Studios in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES >> Firefighters made quick work of a small fire that broke out late Friday at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, authorities said.
The fire was first reported about 7 p.m. at the studio, 10201 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main said.
“It was a small fire in a wooden storage locker in a sound studio,” Main said. “It was held in check by fire sprinklers.”
Firefighters declared the fire extinguished after 17 minutes, she said. No injuries were reported.
Firefighters remained at the scene clearing water from the building, Main said. Because the affected area has a concrete floor, the damage was believed to be “minimal.”
The cause was not available Friday evening.

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Two jailed in connection with bear hug robbery in Monterey Park

MONTEREY PARK >> Police arrested a man and woman in Los Angeles late Friday less than an hour after they robbed a man in Monterey Park, authorities said.
A Los Angeles man in his 20s was walking on a sidewalk at Emerson and Moore avenues about 9 p.m. when he was approached by the two suspects, Monterey Park police Lt. Tina Montoya said.
“The victim was approached by a male suspect who placed him in a bear hug,” the lieutenant said.
While the man held the victim, the woman went snatched his wallet and iPhone 5 from his pockets, police said. The robbers then fled in a white car. The victim was unhurt.
Police were able to quickly track the iPhone’s location and found the suspects driving on Pico Boulevard in Westlake Village, officials said. The stolen items were found in the car.
Juan Jose Cruz, 18, of Montebello and Michelle Salinas, 20, of Los Angeles were arrested on suspicion of robbery, Montoya said.
Cruz and Salinas were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Friday in Alhambra Superior Court.

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Glendora police bust alleged burglary ring

GLENDORA >> Glendora police Wednesday jailed an alleged residential burglary ring comprised of five Los Angeles gang members, officials said.
The four men and a teenage boy are accused of three burglaries in Glendora Wednesday, as well as at least one additional burglary in Covina, Glendora police Lt. James De Mond said. And detectives continued working to link them to additional crimes.
The burglars primarily stole jewelry from the homes, the lieutenant said.
The arrests came after Glendora officers police responded to a report of a burglary in the 700 block of East Essex Street, the lieutenant said. A resident had arrived home to find the front door kicked in and the home ransacked.”
“As officers were investigating this burglary, a resident in the 1100 block of East Dover Street called to report seeing five males attempting to get in a screen door of a residence,” De Mond said.
Police rushed to Dover Street where officers spotted two young men running between homes in the neighborhood, as well as a white Toyota Camry with paper license plates driving away, De Mond said.
Police stopped the car and arrested Jaime Estrada, 26, of Maywood, who was on parole for burglary, De Mond said. Stolen property from all four burglaries was found in the Camry. Some items found in the car had been stolen in another residential burglary in the 1000 block of East Bradford Drive that was not reported until later in the day.
Officers searched the neighborhood and found Martin Sanchez, 26, of Hacienda Heights and Junior Valdez, 25, of Los Angeles hiding in a nearby garage, police said. Two other suspects, identified as Jerry Castro, 21, of Los Angeles and a teenage boy from Cudahy, hiding in a side yard and trying to break into a garage.
A Pasadena police helicopter and two Pasadena police K-9s took part in the search.
“All of the suspects have been identified as 38th Street gang members out of South Central Los Angeles,” De Mond said.
Estrada was being held without bail while the three other adult suspects were being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, according to Los Angeles County booking records. All four were scheduled to be arraigned Friday in West Covina Superior Court.
The teenage suspect was taken to Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall.

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Three men rescued from SUV wreck in Granada Hills

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GRANADA HILLS >> Firefighters ripped apart a mangled SUV to free three injured young men who were trapped inside after the vehicle struck a tree along San Fernando Road, authorities said.
Two men were hospitalized in critical condition and one was hospitalized in serious condition following the crash, which took place just before 1 p.m. in the 14400 block of North San Fernando Road, just west of Balboa Boulevard, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said. All were described as men estimated to be in their 20s.
The driver and two passengers were trapped inside the Toyota SUV when officials arrived on-scene, he said.
“Firefighters had to use hydraulic prying tools to deconstruct the SUV,” Humphrey said.
The relationship among the three injured men was not clear, he said.
Two of the injured were taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, and the third was taken to Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia, officials said.
San Fernando Road was briefly shut down in both directions as officials tended to the injured and investigated the scene.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Los Angeles police Department’s Valley Traffic Division.

PHOTO by Mike Meadows

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Man sentenced for Monterey Park double-slaying

A judge sentenced a man to spend the rest of his life in prison Thursday for the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend in Monterey Park in early 2010, authorities said.
Richard Tauch, 49, of Corona received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole in Pasadena Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
A jury convicted him in November of two counts of first-degree murder for the Jan. 19, 2010, shooting deaths of Jenny Sor, 40, of Los Angeles and Wenwa Chao, 53, of Alhambra. The jury also found true the special allegations of multiple murder and lying in wait.
Officials described Tauch as a casino security guard who was obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Sor.
“Tauch and Sor were in a relationship for a year before she broke up with him in December 2009 and started dating Chao,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
On the day of the killings, Tauch went to Sor’s workplace at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood and hid himself in her car, investigators said. He remained concealed in her car as she drove to an assisted living facility in the 200 block of Northj Chandler Avenue in Monterey Park, where Chao was visiting his father.
“When Sor arrived at the care home, she went inside and Tauch followed,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “The defendant then accosted Sor and Chao and shot them multiple times. The victims died at the scene.”
Tauch fled the scene following the double-slaying, but detectives arrested him the following day.

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L.A. Kings to celebrate Stanley Cup victory with parade Monday


LOS ANGELES >> Los Angeles will celebrate its 2014 Stanley Cup Champion Kings on Monday with a parade in front of the Staples Center, the team announced.
Fans crowding the streets surrounding the Kings home stadium on Figueroa Street exploded into a euphoric frenzy Friday night after the champions defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 in double overtime to secure the coveted cup.
The revelry continues Monday as the official team celebration steps off at noon, beginning at Figueroa and Fifth streets and heading south to Staples Center, Kings spokesman Jon Rosen said in a written statement.
Following the parade, the Kings will host a sold-out victory rally for season ticket holders inside Staples Center, according to Kings representatives. Attendees will be able to watch the parade via screens inside the arena.
The parade is expected to last 35 to 45 minutes, Rosen said.
“Kings fans planning to attend Monday’s victory parade are highly encouraged to line the one-mile Figueroa Street parade route between 5th Street to the north and Chick Hearn Court to the south, on both sides of the street, as all the immediate areas adjacent to Staples Center and L.A. Live will be controlled by the Los Angeles Police Department and Department of Transportation with limited access to an area of limited size,” Rosen said.
In addition to the parade route on Figueroa Street between 5th and 11th streets, Figueroa Street will also be closed between 3rd Street and Pico Boulevard, as well as 11th Street between Figueroa Street and L.A. Live Way, and L.A. Live Way between Olympic and Pico boulevards.
The parade and accompanying festivities will be televised live on FOX Sports West with a broadcast beginning at 11 a.m., Kings officials said.
Restaurants at L.A. Live will remain open during the parade, however access will be limited to the north entrance off Olympic Boulevard, officials said.
“The Kings also encourage all fans to remember to celebrate safely and responsibly, as the parade will be a family event, and small children will be present,” Rosen said. “Parents are reminded to keep their children close to prevent them from becoming separated from their groups. Attendees are also encouraged to drink water and use sunscreen, as many are likely to be standing along Figueroa for several hours and the forecast calls for sunny weather.”
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck echoed the sentiment, congratulating the Kings and encouraging safe celebration via his Twitter account.
“Let’s honor the great @LAKings win by celebrating responsibly! Win with Class, Celebrate with Class!” the chief tweeted.
Fans created an impromptu parade of their own as they left the area following Friday’s victory, waving flags and inflatable Stanley Cup figures and chanting “Go Kings, go,” and “We got the Cup.”
The enthusiastic crowd that gathered Friday at L.A. Live adjacent to Staples Center to watch the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs remained largely peaceful. Strangers exchanged high-fives after the Kings clinched the championship. And even chides between Kings fans and the few Rangers fans visible outside Staples Center remained light-hearted.
Police maintained a heavy presence throughout the game, which increased as it drew near a close. Officers on horseback made patrols through the area, and dozens of other officers stood by with riot helmets at the ready in case of trouble.
There were three arrests in all at the game, Los Angeles Police Officer Rosario Herrera said. Two were private persons arrests for battery, and the third was for being drunk in public.
And home viewers were also excited about Friday’s game, as evidenced by preliminary TV ratings figures released by the NBC Sports Group.
With an average of 6 million viewers, Friday’s double overtime L.A. Kings Stanley Cup Playoffs victory was the most-watched Game 5 in six years, NBC officials said in a written statement.
Viewership peaked between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., at more than 8.5 million viewers, NBC officials said in a written statement.
The ratings were up seven percent over Game 5 last year between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins, which was also shown on NBC, and 82 percent over Game 5 in 2012, in which the Kings took on the New Jersey Devils in a game with potential to clinch the Stanley Cup.
The last time a Game 5 reached so many viewers was in 2008, when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings battled into triple overtime, according to the network.
NBC officials said they expected Friday’s game to be the top primetime broadcast among the four major networks. The previous two playoff series games shown on NBC, games 1 and 2, claimed the No. 1 primetime rating.
Locally, in both Los Angeles and New York, Friday’s playoff game garnered the second-highest ratings of any NHL games shown on NBC or NBCSN, officials said.
With a Los Angeles rating of 12.4, Los Angeles viewership was bested only by the series-ending Game 6 in 2012, which saw a rating of 13.6, according to NBCSN.
In New York, Friday’s 10.4 rating was topped only by Game 2 of this playoff series, which brought a slightly higher rating of 10.5.

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