MONTEREY PARK >> Coroner’s officials have released the names of two young men who died in a high-speed solo-car crash in Monterey Park earlier this month.
Driver Brian Anthony Gomez, 19, of Los Angeles died at a hospital shortly after the crash, which took place about 3:40 p.m. July 10 in the 500 block of Monterey Pass Road, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator S. Dixson said.
His passenger, 21-year-old Nicholas Ivan Gonzalez of Montebello, died at the scene of the crash, according to coroner’s Lt. Fred Corral.
Autopsies determined both men died of “traumatic injuries,” and the deaths were ruled accidental, coroner’s officials said.
The Infiniti Q60 was travelling at high speed when is struck a parked car and overturned, Monterey Park police officials said. At least one witnesses indicated the car was traveling in excess of 100 mph when it crashed.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by traffic officers from the Monterey Park Police Department.
MONTEREY PARK — One person died and another was hospitalized with major injuries following a crash on Monterey Pass Road in Monterey Park Thursday afternoon.
The crash was reported at 3:43 p.m. in the 500 block of Monterey Pass Road, just southwest of Fremont Avenue, Monterey Park police Lt. Eric Kim said.
The investigation remained in its early stages, however it initially appeared a car travelling on Monterey Pass Road struck parked vehicle, the lieutenant said.
Witnesses indicated the car, which appeared to be an Infiniti sedan, had been travelling at a “very high rate of speed,” prior to the crash, Kim said. One witness estimated the Infiniti was travelling in excess of 100 mph before crashing.
No one was inside the Nissan SUV struck by the speeding car, officials said.
Paramedics pronounced one person dead at the scene, Kim said. A second person was hospitalized in critical condition.
The two occupants of the car were initially described only as male.
A utility poll was struck in the crash, and the sedan that struck the parked car ultimately struck a nearby commercial building, creating a hole in the wall about the size of two basketballs, before coming to a rest upside down.
Monterey Pass Road was shut down in both directions as police conducted an investigation.
No further details were available.
PHOTO by Keith Durflinger
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.
MONTEREY PARK — Firefighters made quick work of a small brush fire in Monterey Park Friday afternoon, extinguishing the flames before the fire grew larger than a quarter-acre, officials said.
The fire was first reported at 5:17 p.m. in a brush area along the 1400 block Monterey Pass Road, Verdugo Fire Communications Center Dispatch Supervisor Lynda Sims said.
Firefighters declared the fire “knocked down” at 5:34 p.m., she added, and began mop-up operations.
The fire came during the third day of a Red Flag Warning in Los Angeles County due to increased fire risk presented by high temperatures and low humidity levels.
MONTEREY PARK >> A man driving a Ferrari died and his passenger was critically injured, while the driver of a Hyundai sedan also suffered major injuries and was suspected of drunken driving following an early-morning crash at a major Monterey Park intersection, authorities said.
Fu Duan, 21, of Temple City died in the crash, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Joe Bale said.
Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene of the crash, which took shortly after 2 a.m. at Garvey and New avenues.
A passenger in the mangled Ferrari 458 Italia was hospitalized in critical condition, Montebello police Sgt. Brent Archibald said. A description of the passenger was not available.
The driver of a Hyundai Accent that collided with the Ferrari was also hospitalized in critical condition, and suspected of drunken driving.
“We do suspect that alcohol is involved,” Archibald said.
The driver, 28-year-old Omar Placencia of Los Angeles, was expected to be booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, Lt. Eric Kim said.
He was the only person inside the Hyundai.
The cars collided in the intersection as the Ferrari was southbound on New Avenue and the Hyundai was westbound on Garvey Avenue, “The (Hyundai) collided into the driver-side of the Ferrari, fatally injuring the driver,” Archibald said.
Officers had not yet determined which vehicle had the green light, he said. The speed at which the cars were traveling when they crashed was also under investigation.
The Ferrari “appears to be new,” Archibald said, adding that it was not yet fitted with permanent license plates.
The luxury sports cars’ starting price is around $230,000
The front end of the luxury sports car was sheared of in the crash.
Coroner’s officials planned to perform an autopsy on Duan and look into whether he had any substances in his system at the time of the crash.
Neighbors living near the crash scene said they’d seen the white Ferrari speeding around the area in recent days.
Erica Olson, 44, said she’s seen the sports car driving at high speeds three times in the previous week.
“It’s just been zooming around,” she said. “It was doing 70 mph on New (Avenue). It was going so fast, I couldn’t tell who was driving it.”
“I pray for the victims,” Olson added.
Neighbor Lee McClure said saw noticed the Ferrari for the first time Friday afternoon as it was speeding along Egley Avenue in front of Arlene Bitely Elementary School. “I haven’t seen it before,” he said.
The intersection remained shut down through 2 p.m. as officials took measurements, collected evidence and examined the scene of the fatal collision.
of the fatal collision.
MONTEREY PARK >> Six firefighters and nine civilians were injured, one of them critically, Wednesday after two fire engines collided in a Monterey Park intersection, sending one of them careening into a dim sum restaurant, authorities said.
The crash, which involved a Monterey Park Fire Department fire engine and an Alhambra Fire Department ladder truck, was first reported about 3:15 p.m. at the Lu Dumpling House, at the southeast corner of Garfield and Emerson avenues, according to Monterey Park police and fire officials.
The critically injured civilians was taken to a trauma center, Monterey Park Fire Department Chief Jim Birrell said. The other eight civilians’ injuries were believed to be minor.
Three Alhambra firefighters and two Monterey Park firefighters suffered minor injuries in the crash, while another Monterey Park firefighter suffered injuries described as moderate, Monterey Park fire Capt. Matt Hallock said.
Both vehicles were rushing to the scene of a house fire toward the southern end of Monterey Park when the crash occurred, officials said. The East Los Angeles office of California Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.
The Monterey Park engine was eastbound on Emerson Avenue just prior to the crash, and the Alhambra Fire Department ladder truck was southbound on Garfield Avenue, CHP Officer Doris Peniche said.
“They both had their full lights and sirens on as they approached the intersection,” Peniche said. “They collided, causing one of the engines to crash into the building.
The critically injured man was believed to be inside the restaurant when it was struck, authorities said. A further description was not available.
It was unclear whether the other eight civilians who were hurt were inside the restaurant.
The firefighter who suffered moderate injuries had been driving the Monterey Park fire engine, Hallock said.
Firefighters involved in the crash hopped off the damaged trucks and began tending to injured, he added.
The vehicles easily weigh more than 70,000 pounds each, Hallock said.
The fire truck remained lodged halfway into the restaurant late Wednesday afternoon, and it was not immediately clear if the restaurant had sustained structural damage.
A Los Angeles County Fire Department urban search and rescue team assisted their counterparts from the Monterey Park, Alhambra, Pasadena, San Gabriel, Burbank and Glendale fire departments at the scene.
Though the involved trucks came from different agencies, they often work together under a regional assistance plan and are dispatched by the same Glendale-based center.
Hallock described Wednesday’s collision as “highly unusual” and “highly unfortunate.”
While firefighters often rush to emergency calls, “we train to drive cautiously and arrive at the scene safely,” he said.
When a fire department emergency vehicle is en route to a call with emergency lights and sirens activated, procedure is to enter the intersection at a safe speed and make sure the intersection is clear before proceeding, Birrell said.
“This is the first time in my career — 30 years — that I’ve witnessed an accident like this,” the chief said.
ALHAMBRA — A reckless and intoxicated driver led Alhambra police on a chase Wednesday, turning donuts in a major intersection before ultimately being arrested in Monterey park, police said.
Daniel Thach, 32, if Monterey Park was ultimately arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, felony evading of police and assault with deadly weapon following the wild chase, Alhambra police Sgt. Eddie Elizalde said.
A witness called police at 3:08 p.m. to report seeing an apparently intoxicated driver, Sgt. Jerry Johnson said. Officers spotted the car about a minute later, driving recklessly along Atlantic Boulevard near Mission Road.
The white Toyota Tacoma pickup truck sped away when the officers tried to pull it over, officials said. As officers chased the car, the driver began spinning donuts in the car in the intersection of Atlantic Boulevard and Main Street.
Police continued following the car until the driver finally pulled over at 3:18 p.m. in the 400 block of South McPherrin Avenue in Monterey Park, Johnson said.
Thach’s alleged reckless driving led to the accusation of assault with a deadly weapon, Elizalde said, though it was not clear late Wednesday exactly when during the chase the alleged assault took place, or against who.
According to county booking records, Thach was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Friday in Alhambra Superior Court.
MONTEREY PARK >> A man arrested Wednesday on suspicion of beating his roommate to death was released from jail Friday without charged, records show.
Yao Zhong Shi, 59, was released from custody about 1:20 p.m. Friday, according to Los Angeles County booking records. His booking sheet indicated he was released due to insufficient evidence.
Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau jailed Shi Wednesday afternoon, about 12 hours after the body of his 51-year-old roommate was found about 4:10 a.m.
Police had responded to a report of a fight at the home when they came encountered the badly beaten man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The man’s name was not released Saturday pending notification of his family member, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Detectives investigated for much of the day before arresting Shi on suspicion of murder. He was held in lieu of $1 million bail prior to his release from custody Friday.
Prior to Wednesday’s death, police had responded to four reported disturbance calls at the home since December, Monterey Park police officials said.
MONTEREY PARK — Police raided a Monterey Park home Friday, seizing more than 300 marijuana plants and arresting the resident on suspicion of cultivating the illicit crop, authorities said.
Bikram Singh Soni, 32, was being held in lieu of $165,000 bail Saturday pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Alhambra Superior Court, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
Officers from the Monterey Park Police Department’s Special Response Team had been keeping an eye on Soni’s home in the 1100 block of Dover Way for about a month before they arrested him about 2:25 p.m. Friday, officials said.
“Soni’s two-story residence was completely converted into an indoor grow operation with over 300 marijuana plants,” Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement. The plants amounted to about 55 pounds of pot.
The investigation began based on anonymous tips reporting suspicious activity in the neighborhood, Sgt. Frank Duke said.
Officers confirmed suspicious activity, such as people only coming and going at night and the blinds always remaining shut, and noted the odor of marijuana emanating from the home, Duke said.
Officials red-tagged the home due to damage caused by the conversion to an indoor gardening operation, the sergeant said. Walls had been removed and the electrical system had been jerry-rigged.
In addition to the drug charges, officials were also investigating Soni for stealing electricity from Southern California Edison by bypassing the home’s electrical meter, the sergeant added.
Soni was renting the home where he was the sole resident, Duke said.
The owners were not believed to be aware of the marijuana growing operation, he added.
“At this time, we believe they’re victims,” he said.
PHOTO of Bikram Singh Soni, 32, of Monterey Park courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.
MONTEREY PARK — Detectives continued seeking clues Thursday in the death of a A 51-year-old man who was found slain inside his Monterey Park bedroom.
Yanan Wang was found bleeding from the head just before 1 p.m. Wednesday inside his bedroom in a back house in the 700 block of Hellman Avenue, between New and Orange Avenues, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Dave Dolson said.
His landlord, who lives in the front house, discovered the man bleeding from the head and called 9-1-1, Monterey Park police Lt. Bill Cuevas said.
“He has a single gunshot wound to the head,” Cuevas said.
Police and Monterey Park Fire Department paramedics rushed to the scene, where Wang was pronounced dead, officials said.
An autopsy had not been carried out Thursday, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Information regarding when Wang was last seen alive was not available.
Wang was believed to have rented a room in the back house for the past three months or so, Cuevas said. He lived alone.
No arrests had been made as of Thursday, and suspect description was available.
There were no signs the home had been broken into, Cuevas said.
Neighbors did not report hearing any gunshots or other commotion, investigators added.
An area resident who asked his name be withheld said he saw a large Chinese man he did not recognize leaving the property about 12:20 p.m. Saturday.
The man, who stood about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed about 180 pounds, carried a box and appeared to be in a hurry as he walked west along the sidewalk away from the home, the witness said.
Investigators said they had no information regarding any visitors to the home prior to the discovery of Wang’s body.
Sheriff’s homicide detectives, who are spearheading the investigation, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
PHOTO investigators search for clues by flashlight following the fatal shooting of a man at a home int he 700 block of East Hellman Avenue in Monterey Park on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014.