LOS ANGELES — A Montebello doctor accused of molesting eight female patients between 2007 and 2011 will stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Dr. Arturo Vargas, 42, appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court for his preliminary hearing, in which a judge determined sufficient evidence had been presented to order Vargas to stand trial on 23 charges, court officials said.
He is scheduled to return to court Feb. 19 for an arraignment hearing.
Vargas is charged with multiple counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, sexual battery by fraud and sexual exploitation by a physician.
Montebello police began investigating Vargas after a female patient he treated at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices, 1550 Town Center Drive in Montebello, reported being molested by him during an examination in July of 2011. Investigators arrested him
After word of Vargas’ Jan. 2, 2012, arrest became public, seven additional women came forward to report being sexually assaulted by Vargas, according to Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Martha Carrillo.
The alleged crimes took place both at the Montebello medical office, as well as at other Los Angeles County facilities, authorities allege.
Vargas was released hours after his initial arrest in January of 2012 after posting $200,000 bail, officials said.
Following his re-arrest Feb. 6, Vargas was released from jail the following day after posting $925,000 bail.
If convicted as charged, Vargas faces up to 104 years in state prison.
MONTEBELLO — A fire tore through a a Spruce Street home Friday afternoon, officials said.
The fire was reported about 12:30 p.m. at a back house in the 1300 block of South Spruce Street, Montebello Fire Department officials said.
Firefighters found the home fully involved with flames on arrival.
An dollar-value estimate of the damage was not available, and the cause remained under investigation.
No injuries were reported.
MONTEBELLO — Coroner’s officials on Friday identified the man killed on the 60 Freeway as Jin Ku Kim, 42, of Los Angeles.
The crash, which involved a car and two big rigs, happened at 2:50 a.m. Thursday on the westbound 60 Freeway, west of Garfield Avenue.
CHP officers said for an unknown reason, a white Acura rear-ended a slower-moving tractor trailer. The Acura became disabled in the No. 3 lane.
The car then struck by a Freightliner. Kim, who was driving the Acura, was pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy was pending.
- Ruby Gonzales
MONTEBELLO — A man died early Thursday in a crash involving his car and two big rigs on the Pomona (60) Freeway, authorities said.
The name of the man was not released pending confirmation that his family had been notifies, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
California Highway Patrol officials described him as a 42-year-old Los Angeles man.
The collision took place about 2:50 a.m. on the westbound 60 Freeway, near Garfield Avenue, CHP Officer Ed Jacobs said.
Officials said the Los Angeles man was driving a 2003 Acura in the No. 3 lane at an unknown speed when, for reasons that remained under investigation, the Acura rear-ended a slower-moving big rig driving ahead of him, CHP Officer R. Deguzman said in a written statement.
The collision left the Acura disabled in the No. 3 lane, officials said.
Following the initial collision, a 2009 Freightliner truck being driven in the same lane by a 43-year-old Ontario man struck the rear of the Acura, Deguzman said.
The driver of the Acura died from his injuries at the scene.
Officials shut down all westbound lanes of the 60 Freeway for nearly three hours following the fatal crash.
Officers from the East Los Angeles office of the CHP are handling the investigation.
LOS ANGELES — A man received a 5-year prison sentence Wednesday for intentionally ramming his girlfriend’s car with his truck in Montebello, critically injuring her and causing her car to burst into flames, authorities said.
Jason Tapia, 23, of Los Angeles was sentenced in Los Angeles Superior Court, where he was convicted by a jury of assault with a deadly weapon Dec. 6, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said. He was given 738 days credit toward his sentence for time already served.
The attack took place Jan. 6. 2012, in Montebello.
Tapia’s girlfriend suffered major injuries after he rammed her car with his pickup truck at Whittier Boulevard and 7th Street in Montebello, causing it to strike a tree and catch fire, officials said.
He had chased the young woman from Pico Rivera prior to the crash, police said. The woman called police just prior to crashing to report being chased.
A Montebello man is in custody for the 2008 shooting deaths of a father and son at a graduation party.
Montebello police said Joe John Dorantes, 27, was arrested Dec. 6 for two counts of murder stemming from a June 21, 2008 homicide in the 100 block of East Madison Avenue. Police didn’t release any further details about the case or the arrest.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Dorantes with the murders of Juan Garcia, 44, of Perris and his 12-year-old son, Albert Garcia of Hemet. Dorantes is also accused of the attempted murders of Emmanuelle Soltero and Ernesto Cortez.
The criminal complaint alleged that the crimes were committed for the benefit of a gang, that Dorantes used a handgun and intentionally fired the weapon which caused great bodily injury and death to the victims.
He was arraigned Dec. 10 and pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the DA’s Office.
Dorantes will return Jan. 11 to Los Angeles Superior Court to set a date for his preliminary hearing.
The DA’s Office hasn’t decided whether it will seek the death penalty against him.
Dorantes is being held without bail at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles.
He’s not the first person accused of the fatal shootings.
On August 2008, police arrested then 15-year-old Angel Sosa on suspicion of killing the Garcias and assaulting with a firearm Emmanuelle Soltero.
The Montebello teen was tried as an adult. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury acquitted Sosa of all the charges on June 11, 2010.
Juan and Albert Garcia were guests at a high school graduation party for a blind girl which was held in a Montebello backyard.
Authorities said the father and son weren’t involved in the dispute that led to the shooting. The earlier confrontation involved members of a tagging crew and a Montebello gang.
The prosecution at Sosa’s trial said members of the gang were friends with a teenage girl who lived at the house where the party was held.
The gang members came uninvited and were on the porch when someone from the tagging crew walked by, stared hard at them and yelled out the name of the crew.
The gangsters beat him and he left. The teenaged girl told the gang members to leave.
Several young men later showed up and asked for one of the gang members. An argument occurred when people at the party told the young men to leave.
Then the shooting broke out.
- Ruby Gonzales
Police said an unlicensed driver accidentally stepped on the gas pedal of a small sport utility vehicle, jumped a curb and hit a 6-year-old boy and his father Friday night.
Montebello police Lt. Larry Jackson said the child was in critical condition while the man sustained minor injuries.
The collision occurred at 9:12 p.m. on 6th Street, south of Beverly Boulevard.
Jackson thinks the SUV was backing out when the driver stepped on the gas pedal. The child and his father were in a front yard when hit, he added.
Both were taken to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center.
After the collision, Jackson said the SUV hit a brick wall, continued back onto the street, struck a wooden fence then a tree.
The driver had not been arrested or cited Saturday as the investigation was ongoing, police said.
- Staff report
A local Toys R Us was evacuated Thursday when a caller claimed there was a bomb that was about to go off.
Montebello police Lt. Ronald Santo said no explosive device was found at the store, 1445 N. Montebello Blvd.
An employee received a call from an unknown male who said there was a bomb inside the business set to go off in 15 seconds, according to Santo.
Employees evacuated the store and called police.
Officers searched for suspicious items but found nothing.
Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Flores at 323-887-1297.
- Ruby Gonzales
MONTEBELLO — Detectives sought clues Saturday into the slaying of a man found shot to death on a river embankment near Grant Rea Park, authorities said.
The dead man had not been identified Saturday morning, Lt. Larry Dietz of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner said. He was initially described as a Latino man in his mid-30s.
Montebello police responded to a report of a “person down” about 9:40 p.m.Friday on a river embankment near Beverly Boulevard and Rea Drive, Deputy Peter Gomez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement. Officers found the man unconscious.
“When paramedics and Montebello Fire Department arrived, it was discovered that the victim had been fatally shot,” Gomez said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
“There have been no witnesses located at this time and a motive has yet to be determined,” Gomez said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is assisting Montebello police in the investigation, at 323-890-5500.
MONTEBELLO — Police arrested a Montebello man early Sunday on suspicion of violating a restraining order and breaking into a home before leading police on a chase which ended in a crash, authorities said.
Ernesto Vieyra, 56, was expected to be booked on suspicion of burglary and evading police, Montebello police Lt. Rick Rojas said.
Officers responded to a report of a man violating a restraining order and breaking into a home in the 1100 block of South Spruce Street just minutes before midnight, the lieutenant said.
The man had left when officers arrived, but a police helicopter spotted his vehicle speeding down Washington Boulevard.
Vieyra failed to pull over, initiating a short, low-speed chase that ended when the fleeing vehicle crashed into another car at Washington and Paramount boulevards in Pico Rivera, Rojas said. Vieyra was not believed injured in the crash, though the other driver suffered apparently minor injuries.
Vieyra was arrested, but taken to a hospital prior to booking after complaining of a medical problem, officials said.