ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A former fugitive from San Bernardino charged with a laundry list of criminal charges in connection with a bizarre Rowland Heights car crash depicted in a viral YouTube video is behind bars, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Jasmine Lacey, 23, is charged with driving under the influence of drugs, hit-and-run with a runaway car, auto theft, taking a car without the owner’s consent and driving without a valid license in connection with the Sept. 1 crash along Harbor Boulevard, between Vantage Point Drive and Pathfinder Road, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
•VIDEO: Bizarre Rowland Heights crash caught on camera
California Highway Patrol officers soon found and arrested an allegedly highly intoxicated Lacey on foot in the area, CHP officials said.
She was released from custody without charges four days later, however, pending the result of blood analysis.
But charged were filed against Lacey in February, but she failed to show up for a scheduled Feb. 10 arraignment hearing in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s West Covina branch, Ardalani said. A bench warrant was issued for her arrest.
Lacey was re-arrested April 18, according to county booking records. The circumstances of her re-capture were unclear Wednesday.
She pleaded has since not guilty to all charges.
But the legal process is again on hold as officials look into Lacey’s psychiatric health, Ardalani said.
“On May 5, a doubt was declared as to the defendant’s mental competency,” she said.
According to court records, Lacey is next scheduled to appear in the Mental Health Courthouse in Los Angeles May 19 for a mental competency hearing. She is then scheduled for a hearing in the West Covina courthouse the following day.
The unusual incident, which resulted in no significant injuries, was captured on video by the dashcam of another car. The footage was posted to YouTube by user “UlikeUC Here”, where it has since garnered more than 5 million views.
She was at the wheel of a stolen car when the suddenly slammed on the brakes, bringing the car to a halt, the video shows.
Lacey then inexplicably exits the car and begins walking down the center median as the driverless car rolled downhill and into opposing traffic lanes. An SUV was struck by the car before it ultimately struck a tree and stopped.
Lacey was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail, records show.
A Covina man who was allegedly stabbed by a Domino’s Pizza delivery man during an argument over late pizza in January is suing the restaurant chain and the driver.
Austin Reilly, 20, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Domino’s and driver Michael Charles Parker, seeking unspecified damages on allegations of negligence, battery and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Also named as plaintiffs are Reilly’s parents, Owen and Christie Reilly, who witnessed the attack on their son, the suit alleges.
A Domino’s Pizza representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
Parker delivered a pizza to Reilly’s family home in the 1600 block of North Mangrove Avenue about 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, Covina police Sgt. Ryan Davis said at the time.
He became involved in an argument with Reilly, who claimed the pizza was late, the sergeant said. The argument turned into a fight, during which the delivery man allegedly slashed the customer in the neck, wrist and hand with an unknown sharp object.
Paramedics took Reilly to a hospital for treatment of wounds described as significant, but not life-threatening.
Police found and arrested Parker, 31, of Glendora shortly before 1 a.m. the following morning at the restaurant on Glendora Avenue in Covina, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Parker was released the day of his arrest after posting $30,000 bail, records show.
Charges were yet to be filed Wednesday, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Officials said. The case remained under consideration, officials said.
The lawsuit alleges that Parker used a box cutter intending to “disfigure and slay” Reilly and that his injuries were life-threatening.
Domino’s had an obligation to make occasional checks to see that its stores — including the one in Covina where Parker worked — were hiring people fit for the job of dealing with customers in their homes as opposed to in a normal restaurant setting, the suit states.
- Staff and wire report
- Photo of Michael Charles Parker, 31, of Glendora courtesy of the Covina Police Department.
PASADENA >> Postal inspectors arrested a Monrovia woman Wednesday on suspicion of chasing down and pepper-spraying a mail carrier while screaming racial slurs in an incident of road rage in Pasadena two weeks ago, officials said.
Ruby Guerrero Valenzuela, 64, was arrested on suspicion of assault on a U.S. Postal Service employee in connection with the bizarre attack, reported about 10:40 a.m. on April 20 in the 1000 block of North Lake Avenue, according to Pasadena police and U.S. Department of Justice officials.
Valenzuela became enraged after the 55-year-old postal worker, who was driving a mail truck, accidentally cut her off in traffic in the area of Claremont Street and Mar Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said at the time.
“Valenzuela shouted obscenities and followed the victim to her next stop (on Lake Avenue),” U.S. DOJ spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
“Valenzuela ran up the victim, who had walked the entrance of building on Lake Avenue,” Mrozek continued. “According to witnesses, Valenzuela screamed additional obscenities and racial epithets at the victim before spraying the victim in the face with pepper spray, which caused the victim to suffer severe pain and blurred vision.”
The postal carrier declined to be taken to a hospital, Luna said.
Despite the racial slurs allegedly uttered by Valenzuela, both the suspect and victim are Latina, police said.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service joined Pasadena police in the investigation, as did Monrovia police, once the suspect was identified as a Monrovia resident.
Federal officials arrested Valenzuela on Wednesday morning, and she made her initial appearance in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon, Mrozek said.
She entered no plea and was released after posting a $10,000 bond, Mrozek said. She was scheduled to return to court for an arraignment hearing on May 31.“The evidence in this case indicates that a postal carrier carrying out her duties was the victim of an unwarranted attack,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of California’s Central District said. “All federal employees should be able to carry out their duties without fear of attacks based on the performance of those duties.”
If convicted as charged, Valenzuela faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
PASADENA >> A woman allegedly tried to run down at least one of her parents with an SUV in Pasadena Friday night before leading police on a pursuit that came to an end in Downtown Los Angeles, where she stripped nude before being taken into custody.
The bizarre string of events began about 10:30 p.m. when police received a report of a family dispute at a home in the 1300 block of Linda Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said.
Officers learned a woman had gotten into an argument with her parents, during which she allegedly tried to run them down with an SUV.
“She tried to strike one or both of her parents,” Gourdikian said. “They had to jump out of the way.” The parents were not injured.
The suspect also struck her parents’ parked car with her SUV and smashed a car window with a brick, Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
The woman fled the scene before police arrived, but officers soon spotted the woman driving near the Rose Bowl, the lieutenant said. She refused to pull over, initiating a chase.
News helicopters broadcast live as police chased the SUV down the 134, 101, 118 and 210 freeways toward Los Angeles.
Police cancelled their pursuit as a safety precaution and planned to seek the woman later, as they knew her identity, Gourdikian said.
But news helicopters continued to follow and broadcast live online as the woman got onto the 110 Freeway, exited in Downtown Los Angeles and parked the SUV in a parking lot along 3rd Street, just east of Main Street.
The woman exited the SUV and began walking down the street, speaking with several passers-by, a live stream broadcast online by CBS Los Angeles. More than 15 minutes passed for Los Angeles police arrived.
In the meantime, a freelance news photographer arrived on the scene. He approached the woman, camera in-hand, and appeared to speak with her briefly.
As police approached, the woman suddenly stripped off all of her clothing. Police handcuffed the suspect and tried to cover her with a shirt before placing her into a squad car.
She made “incoherent” statements to officers during her arrest, Carrillo said.
Simone Megan Gonzalez, 32, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and evading police, according to police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officials had yet to determine Saturday whether Gonzalez’s bizarre behavior may have been the result of mental illness or intoxication.
She was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, records show.
SOUTH PASADENA >> A man who kicked and violently swung his Chihuahua in the lobby of the South Pasadena Police Department two months ago while department cameras recorded pleaded “no contest” to an animal cruelty charge, authorities said.
Christian Andrew Najera, 48, of Los Angeles pleaded “no contest” to a misdemeanor count of cruelty to an animal in the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Alhambra branch, Los Angeles County district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Judge Rupa Goswami immediately sentenced Najera to 120 days in jail and three years of summary probation, officials said. He was also ordered to attend 24 animal cruelty classes and take part in a six-month residential treatment program through Assessment Intervention Resources.
“Furthermore, Najera cannot own, possess, maintain, reside with or care for an animal for five years,” according ti district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
The case stems from a bizarre incident that unfolded about 10 a.m. on Feb. 6 at the Pasadena Police Department, 1422 Mission Street, Pasadena police and district attorney’s officials said.
Police department surveillance camera video shows Najera walking into the lobby of the department with his 2-year-old Chihuahua, Daisy, on a leash.
Station personnel watched on a live video feed as Najera kicked the tiny dog, and swung it violently by its leash, police said.
A police clerk and a dispatcher followed the abuser — later identified as Najera — until officers took him into custody, according to South Pasadena police Capt. Mike Neff.
It was unclear why Najera, who is believed to suffer from psychological problems and has a criminal history including previous violent crimes, went to the police station in the first place, police said.
The dog was placed in the care of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, police said. The injuries were not significant.
PHOTOS — Surveillance video, Christian Najera [top], “Daisy” the Chihuahua [below] and courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department.
COVINA >> Police are seeking a 50-pound tortoise stolen from a Covina backyard Friday.
The pet reptile — valued at about $450 — was reported missing about 9 p.m. in the 1500 block of East Adams Park Drive, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
Its owner arrived home to find the side gate leading to the backyard open and the tortoise gone, officials said.
COVINA >> An argument over a late pizza escalated into a stabbing when a pizza delivery driver slashed the customer late Saturday, police said.
The alleged attack unfolded about 11:30 p.m. at a home in the 600 block of North Mangrove Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Ryan Davis said.
The suspect, a driver for Dominos Pizza, delivered a pizza to the home and became involved in an argument with the customer, a man in his 20s, who claimed the pizza was late, the sergeant said.
The argument turned into a fight, during which the delivery man slashed the customer in the neck, wrist and hand with an unknown sharp object, Davis said.
Paramedics took the wounded man to a hospital for treatment of wounds described as significant, but non-life-threatening, he said.
Officers found and arrested the suspect, 31-year-old Michael Parker of Glendora, at the Domino’s Pizza shop on Glendora Avenue in Covina, Davis said.
Parker was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and released from custody Sunday morning pending a court appearance after posting $30,000 bail, records show.
BOOKING PHOTO of Michael Charles Parker, 31, of Glendora courtesy of the Covina Police Department.
ALHAMBRA >> An Alhambra man jumped a fence onto a school campus to confront and assault two students after accusing them of throwing a piece of candy cane at his truck, police said.
Jonathan Torres, 26, was booked on suspicion of trespassing on school grounds and battery on a student several hours after the incident, which unfolded just before noon at William Northrop Elementary School, 409 South Atlantic Blvd., Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said. The school instructs kindergarten through eighth grade.
Torres arrived at the school to pick up a preschool-age student, Johnson said.
“As he pulled into the parking lot, some kids who were on campus — junior high school students — either accidentally or on purpose threw a piece of candy cane at his truck,” the sergeant said. Torres became enraged.
“He ends up going over a fence, on campus, and confronts this group of junior high school students,” “He spits at them, shoves them and curses at them.”
A teacher who saw what happened told the man to leave the campus, and he fled in his truck, Johnson said.
Campus police determined the suspects identity and contacted him by telephone, he said. Torres agreed to return to the campus, where he was arrested shortly after 2:40 p.m.
The two students listed as victims in the incident were “shaken up,” but uninjured, Johnson said.
The sergeant said the school was placed on lockdown for about 15 minutes, before police were able to confirm the suspect had left the campus.
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Police are seeking a man caught on surveillance camera trashing a Santa Fe Springs liquor store and attacking the clerk with a coffee mug earlier this week after the clerk refused to let the man use his cell phone, officials said.
The bizarre rampage, which was caught on surveillance video, took place about 7:50 p.m. Monday at Bruce’s Liquors, 12623 Imperial Highway, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said in a written statement.
•VIDEO: Suspect attacker Santa Fe Springs liquor store clerk
The suspect walked up to the clerk, a man of about 60 years old, and asked to use his cell phone, the officer said.
“When the clerk refused, the suspect went into a rage and destroyed the cash register and several other items on the counter,” Scoggins said. “He then picked up a porcelain mug and threw it, striking the clerk in the head.”
The clerk was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries, police said. The attacker fled and remained at large Thursday.
Police described the attacker as a white or Latino man in his 20s, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, gray jeans and black Adidas tennis shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Whittier police Detective Rob Wolfe at 562-409-1869. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
VIDEO/PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department
WALNUT >> Two men robbed a woman of her purse at a Walnut shopping center Saturday, but one of them left deputies a clue in the form of his shoes, which fell off his feet as a ran from the crime scene, officials said.
The crime took place about 4:30 p.m. in front of a strip mall in the 20700 block of Amar Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Bruce Yoell said.
Two men pushed a woman and grabbed her purse, he said. The woman was unhurt.
As the robbers ran north from the area, one of them robbers lost his shoes, Yoell said.
Deputies watched over an apartment complex to the north of the shopping center, where the robbers were last seen, the sergeant said. They summoned a search dog to sniff the suspect’s shoes and try to follow the scent left by the barefoot robber, Yoell said.
But deputies called off the search about 8:50 p.m., he said. The suspects were not found, and the investigation continued.