Monterey Park police plan pedestrian safety crackdown Thursday

MONTEREY PARK >> Police plan to step enforcement with the goal of improving pedestrian and bicycle safety throughout Monterey Park on Thursday, officials said.
During the extra enforcement campaign, officers will keep watch for violations by motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians that can lead to serious accidents, Monterey Park police Sgt. Brent Archibald said in a written statement.
“Special attention will be directed toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for stop signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or any other dangerous violation,” Archibald said. Officers will also be on the lookout for pedestrian and bicyclist violations.
The extra enforcement will be targeted at parts of the city where pedestrian an bicyclists have been involved in collisions in recent years, as well as places with high pedestrian and bicycle traffic, officials said.
Funding for the campaign is being provided by a grant form the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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UPDATED: Charges filed in crash that killed elderly crossing guard in Monterey Park

MONTEREY PARK >> Prosecutors have filed criminal charges against a 19-year-old driver who fatally struck a 76-year-old crossing guard earlier this year, authorities said Thursday.
Jin Yang of Monterey Park is charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license in connection with the Jan. 27 collision at Garfield Avenue and Elmgate Street that claimed the life of Abel Castellanos of Monterey Park, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. He was scheduled to appear in Alhambra Superior Court to enter a plea July 22.
Yang was driving a Ford Mustang south on Garfield Avenue at about 50 mph when he lost control of the car, California Highway Patrol Officer Doris Peniche said. The posted speed limit is 40 mph.
Yang slammed on his brakes and veered to the right to avoid a Toyota Celica making a left turn from northbound Garfield Avenue onto westbound Elmgate Street, Peniche said. The Mustang went out of control and careened into the southwest corner of the intersection, where Castellanos was sitting in his folding chair in between escorting schoolchildren across the street.
The impact instantly killed Castellanos, officials said.
Yang’s mother, who was riding as a passenger, was treated for injuries described as moderate following the crash.
The misdemeanor charge manslaughter charge against Yang alleges that the death resulted from an unlawful or dangerous act, “but without gross negligence.”
The charge carries a maximum potential sentence of one year in county jail.
Yang could not be reached for comment Friday. It was not clear whether he was being represented by an attorney.
One of Castellanos’ sons, Ronnie Castellanos, said Friday that he had not heard of the charges and had no further comment.
Castellanos lived in Monterey Park with his family for more than five decades. After retiring from the linen business, he had worked as a crossing guard in Monterey Park for 10 years.

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DUI suspected after chase, crash at 60, 710 freeway interchange

EAST LOS ANGELES >> An allegedly drunken driver crashed his car, ejecting one of three passengers, during a police pursuit that began minutes earlier in Monterey Park early Saturday.
Monterey Park police tried to pull over a car driving with no headlights about 1:35 a.m. as it headed south on Atlantic Boulevard near First Street, Montebello police Sgt. Art Rousseau said.
“The vehicle failed to yield and ramped onto the westbound 60 (Freeway),” he said.
The car crashed as the driver attempted to transition onto the 710 Freeway in East Los Angeles, Rousseau said.
One passenger was thrown from the wreck and was hospitalized in unknown condition, the sergeant said. Two other passengers were treated for apparently minor injuries.
The driver, whose name was not available Saturday afternoon, also suffered injuries believed to be minor in the crash, Rousseau said. He was expected to be booked on suspicion of driving under the influence.

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Jury deadlocks in Monterey Park murder trial

PASADENA >> A jury deadlocked Friday in the trial of a Monterey Park man charged with two counts of murder for the strangulation and beating death of his wife, who was three months pregnant, officials said.
The Pasadena Superior Court jury announced they were unable to reach verdicts in the case of Hongxin Liu, 45, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. Judge Darrell Mavis declared a mistrial
Liu is charged with two counts of murder, along with the special allegation of multiple murder, in connection with the Feb. 5, 2012, death of his wife and her fetus at the couple’s apartment in the 1000 block of South Ynez Avenue.
An autopsy determined 39-year-old Chenyan Bao died of asphyxia as a result of neck compression. The coroner’s investigation also found that Bao had been beaten.
Prosecutors plan to retry the case, and a pretrial hearing was scheduled July 6, Ardalani said.

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UPDATED: Elderly man who went missing in Monterey Park found safe

MONTEREY PARK >> Police sought a 79-year-old Chinese-speaking man with dementia who went missing in Monterey Park Thursday, before he was found safe later in the day, officials said.
Chaowu Li was last seen about 7:30 a.m. Thursday in the 800 block of East Emerson Avenue, Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
He was found safe Thursday afternoon, police said.

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Man killed in fiery freeway crash in Monterey Park named

MONTEREY PARK >> Coroner’s officials have released the name of a 33-year-old Maywood man who died in a fiery two-car crash last week.
Sergio Ramos Horta died at the scene of the crash, which occurred about 5:40 a.m. on Feb. 16 on the eastbound 60 Freeway, just west of Atlantic Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Kristy McCracken said.
His identification was delayed due to the burned condition of his body, coroner’s officials said.
Few details regarding the circumstances of the crash have been released.
California Highway Patrol officials responded to numerous 9-1-1 calls reporting a crash between a 2003 Infiniti and a 1982 Toyota, “with both vehicles fully engulfed in flames,” CHP officials said in a written statement.
The cause of the crash was under investigation by the CHP’s East Los Angeles office.

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Woman accused of stealing elderly woman’s bingo prize in Monterey Park


MONTEREY PARK – Police arrested a woman Thursday for allegedly stealing about $250 from an 86-year-old fellow bingo player at the senior center two weeks ago.
BINGO stillMaricela Bracamontes, 53, of Bell Gardens was booked on suspicion of felony elder abuse. Police didn’t recover the money.
“She was arrested for elder abuse because she targeted a senior,” said Lt. Tina Montoya of the Monterey Park Police Department.
Police said the crime was caught on camera…

FULL STORY by Ruby Gonzales in the Pasadena Star-News

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Officials: Man who shot self in front of Monterey Park police named

MONTEREY PARK >> Authorities have released the name of a reportedly suicidal Monterey Park man who police said fatally shot himself upon being pulled over by police over the weekend.
Tak Kuen Yeung, 65, died at a hospital shortly after Sunday’s 11:45 a.m. shooting in the 1800 block of West Garvey Avenue, which is being investigated as a suicide, according to Los Angeles County coroner and Monterey Park police officials said. An autopsy was pending Thursday.
Family members called police about 11 a.m. Sunday to report Yeung, who suffered from paranoia, anxiety and depression, had made statement leading them to believe he was suicidal, Monterey Park police Sgt. Art Rousseau said.
Coroner’s documents indicated that Yeung, “stated to family he no longer wanted to live,” coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Officers found Yeung driving and pulled him over.
He pulled to the side of the road before shooting himself once in the head with a handgun, the sergeant said.
Paramedics took Yeung to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

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Officials: Man fatally shoots self after being stopped by police in Monterey Park

MONTEREY PARK >> A Monterey Park senior citizen reported as potentially suicidal shot and killed himself when police pulled over his car Sunday, officials said.
Family members contacted police about 11 a.m. to report the 69-year-old man suffered from depression, anxiety and paranoia and had made statements indicating he may have been suicidal, Monterey Park police Sgt. Art Rousseau said. There was no indication the man was armed.
Officers found the man driving less than 45 minutes later and pulled over his car in the 1800 block of West Garvey Avenue, the sergeant said.
The driver pulled to the side of the road and shot himself once in the head with ha handgun, Rousseau said.
Paramedics rushed the man to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, he said.
An autopsy was to be carried out by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, Rousseau said.

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CHP: Alhambra fire engine at fault in collision with Monterey Park fire engine last year

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MONTEREY PARK >> A California Highway Patrol investigation into a crash between Alhambra and Monterey Park fire trucks last year that sent one of the engines careening into a dim sum restaurant, resulting in 15 injuries, has determined the Alhambra Fire Department truck was at fault for the collision.
The crash occurred shortly after 3 p.m. on April 16 at Garfield and Emerson avenues. Both trucks were responding to a report of a house fire in Monterey Park with emergency lights and sirens activated, officials said. The agencies often cooperate with each other in responding to emergencies.
The large truck’s collided in the intersection, sending the Monterey Park engine hurtling into the Lu Dumpling House. Four pedestrians who were walking in front of the restaurant were injured, one of them critically, authorities said. Six people inside the restaurant were also hurt, along with six firefighters.
A summary of the investigative findings released by the CHP Thursday states that the Alhambra fire engine’s driver drove unsafely just prior to the collision.
The Alhambra engine was southbound on Garfield Avenue at about 15 mph when it entered the intersection through a red light about the same time as the Monterey Park engine entered the intersection through a green light while heading east on Emerson Avenue at about 25 mph, according the CHP statement.
“The Alhambra fire engine failed to ensure the intersection was safe to enter against the red signal light,” according to the statement. “ Due to Alhambra fire engine’s unsafe operation, the front of Alhambra’s fire engine collided into the front of Monterey Park’s fire engine.”
No charges were to be filed in connection with the crash, CHP officials said.
The Alhambra engine was driven by 46-year-old Alhambra Fire Department Firefighter Bryan Butler. Monterey Park Fire Department Firefighter Nicholas Lima, 31, was at the wheel of the Monterey Park fire engine, according to the CHP.
Alhambra City Attorney Joseph Montes said 22 civil claims have been filed in connection with the crash. He declined to comment on the CHP findings.
“We’ve received the report. We’re in the process of analyzing and reviewing it,” Montes said. “We have pending litigation and in light of all that we are not in a position to make any further comment at this time.”
— Staff Writer Stephanie Baer contributed to this report.

PHOTO by Walt Mancini

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