Pasadena man killed in Angeles Crest Highway head-on collision identified

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Authorities have identified a 22-year-old Pasadena man who died in a head-on collision between his Honda Civic and a pickup truck on a winding forest road late Thursday.
Genaro Pliego died following the crash, which took place about 8:45 p.m. at mile marker 27.38 of Angeles Crest Highway, in the Angeles National Forest north of La Canada Flintridge, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
He was at the wheel of a 1998 Honda Civic that was heading south, rounding a turn, when the car crossed into an opposing traffic lane and struck a Ford F-550 pickup truck head-on, California Highway Patrol Officer J. Saunders said in a written statement.
Paramedics pronounced Pliego dead at the scene, officials said. The driver of the pickup truck suffered injuries described as minor.
An autopsy determined he dead from “traumatic injuries,” and the death was ruled accident, according to coroner’s records.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation by the CHP’s Altadena-area office.

PHOTO by Rick McClure

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Shots fired in Pasadena


PASADENA >> Police found no victims or suspects after gunfire erupted in a Pasadena neighborhood early Saturday morning, officials said.
Officers received reports about 12:53 a.m. of gunshots heard in the area of Mountain Street and El Molino Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“A systematic search revealed ballistic evidence in the 800 block of North Madison Avenue,” he said.
But no gunshot victims were found at the scene, and none turned up at area hospitals.
No eye witnesses could be found, and no description of the shooter was available.

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Teenage would-be Pasadena pharmacy robbers foiled by slang


PASADENA >> Police arrested two teenage would-be robbery after they tried to steal cough syrup from two Pasadena pharmacies on Wednesday, but were foiled when the employees they tried to rob could no understand the slang they used, officials said.
The suspects, a 15-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy, both from Altadena, were arrested as they tried to flee the scene of the failed robberies on a Pasadena Transit bus, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
Police first received a report about 11:34 a.m. that a teen had just tried, but failed, to commit a knifepoint robbery at a pharmacy in the 900 block of East Green Street , the lieutenant said.
The older boy entered the store, brandished a knife and demanded “the lean,” Luna said.
The teen was apparently demanding codeine-based cough syrup, but using a slang term the employee did not understand.
“When the employee did not understand what he was asking for, he left the store, slashing a paper sign as he left,” Luna said. The 14-year-old boy waited outside the store during the attempted robbery.
The young would-be robber and his accomplice then went across the street and tried the same thing at another pharmacy, police said.
The older boy brandished a knife as he again demanded, “the lean,” and advanced on employees, Luna said. An employee told the knife-wielding youngster that he did not understand what he was asking for, but to take whatever he wanted. Both teens fled from the store empty-handed.
A witness told arriving officers that the boys had gotten on a Pasadena Transit bus, Luna said. Police soon stopped the bus and arrested the two boys without a struggle. The knife believed to have been used in the crime was recovered.

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El Monte man killed in Pasadena collision identified


PASADENA >> Coroner’s officials on Saturday released the identity of a 63-year-old El Monte man who died in a crash between his compact car and a big rig in Old Pasadena early Thursday.
Epigmenio Miranda of El Monte died at a hospital shortly after Thursday’s 4:50 a.m. crash at Colorado Boulevard and Pasadena Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said. Police initially described Miranda as 58 years old.
He was driving a 2008 Toyota Prius north on Pasadena Avenue when the car collided in an intersection with a big rig traveling east on Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
After freeing Miranda from the wreckage, paramedics took him to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, Hettema said. He succumbed to his injuries a short time later.
It was believed one of the two vehicles may have ran through a red light prior to the collision, but investigators were yet to determine which one, according to the lieutenant. Police were seeking witnesses to the early-morning crash.
The truck driver suffered no injuries.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241.

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Man accused of defrauding Pasadena businesses through fraudulent fire extinguisher service

PASADENA >> Police and fire officials arrested a man Wednesday in connection with an alleged scam ripping off dozens of Pasadena businesses over recent years through a series of fraudulent fire extinguisher service businesses, officials said.
Operating under several different business names, Joshua Lopez, 32, of Rowland Heights, was among a group of suspects who used deceptive tactics to obtain appointments with local businesses, then failed to properly service the fire extinguishers, often leaving behind old or faulty extinguishers with new inspection certificates, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Not only did the scam bilk Pasadena business owners out of money, but it left them in serious danger with a “false sense of security” should they depend on their fire extinguishers to fight a fire, Derderian said.
When business owners get their fire equipment services, as is required annually by law, “There’s an expectation that it’s going to work during an emergency,” Derderian said.
To secure business, the companies relied on deceitful and dishonest practices, such as falsely telling employees that their superiors had previously approved the service, officials said.
The alleged scam has been taking place in Pasadena for several years, but those responsible eluded authorities until Wednesday, Derderian said.
Officials arrested Lopez Wednesday when he showed up to service a fire extinguisher at a Pasadena nonprofit organization, CALSTART, which has been victimized by the alleged scam for the past three years, according to CALSTART Chief Financial Officer Scott Carrano. The nonprofit group is dedicated to the advancement of green transportation technologies and workforce training, primarily through research, consulting and education.
Carrano said he first became suspicious of the fire equipment servicing company last year after noticing they had grossly overbilled for their purported services.
After having the extinguishers examined, Carrano learned they had not been properly serviced, or even serviced at all.
There was no inspector license number or company license number listed on the fire extinguisher certificates left by the company, and the dates on the certification cards did not match those on the labels attached to the extinguishers themselves.
In once instance, Lopez caught on surveillance camera simply replacing the certification tag without servicing the extinguisher, officials said.
CALSTART has since replaced its seven fire extinguishers from others from a reputable company, he said.
While the extinguisher service businesses charged $25 to $30 per each fire extinguisher purportedly serviced, Carrano said he was far more disturbed by the deceit, and the potential danger it placed his employees in, “from a safety perspective.”
“We’ve got 20 lives in our building, and I’m responsible for them,” he said.
Carrano thanks Pasadena fire officials for their help and urged other businesses to check on their fire extinguishers.
The investigation into Lopez, his businesses and his associates was ongoing, officials said.
Lopez was issued a misdemeanor fraud citation, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
He could not be reached for comment Friday.
Pasadena fire officials urged business owners to be mindful when it comes to their fire safety equipment.
“The Pasadena Fire Department reminds businesses and residents (of) condominium and apartment units to ask questions if an uninvited person shows up claiming they were scheduled,” Derderian said. “After confirming that the company was actually requested, make sure you ask for a city business license and their state fire marshal identification that authorizes them to work on fire extinguishers. Additionally, their vehicle should be labeled with a company name and business license number.”
Fire department officials urged business owners to contact the department at 626-744-7177 with any concerns regarding a fire extinguisher service company.

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El Monte man killed in Old Pasadena crash


PASADENA >> An El Monte man early Thursday after a crash between his compact car and a big rig along Colorado Boulevard in Old Pasadena, authorities said.
The crash took place about 4:50 a.m. at Colorado Boulevard and Pasadena Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
Coroner’s officials withheld the man’s identity Thursday pending notification of his family. Police described him as a 53-year-old El Monte resident.
He was driving a 2008 Toyota Prius north along Pasadena Avenue when the car collided with the trailer of a big rig that was heading east on Colorado Boulevard , the lieutenant said.
Pasadena Fire Department firefighters freed the Prius driver from the wreckage and took him to an area hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, Hettema said.
The driver of the big rig was unhurt, he said.
It initially appeared one of the vehicles ran a red light at the intersection, however it was unclear which one. The cause of the crash remained under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department’s Traffic Section.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241.

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Pasadena man charged with murder in alleged DUI crash that killed infant girl on 110 Freeway


LOS ANGELES >> A Pasadena man who was allegedly drunk and on probation for a previous DUI conviction when he rear-ended a car on the 110 Freeway in Elysian Park, killing an infant who was riding as a passenger, has been charged with murder, authorities said.
Prosecutors on Tuesday filed a charges of murder, DUI causing injury or death and driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent against 26-year-old Jared Hale Lynch Silvestri of Pasadena in connection with Saturday evening’s crash on the northbound 110 Freeway near Stadium Way, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
An arraignment hearing scheduled Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles County Superior Court was postponed until Dec. 15, he said.
Four-month-old Melanie Brown of Carson, who was riding as a passenger in a car driven by her grandmother, died at a hospital following the crash, according to California Highway Patrol officials and prosecutors. The grandmother and another 9-year-old granddaughter who was also riding as a passenger were hurt.
The 48-year-old La Crescenta woman was pulling her Chrysler over to the right shoulder when Silvestri approached from behind in a Volkswagen Jetta and slammed into the slow-moving Chrysler at “a high rate of speed”, CHP officials said in a written statement.
A third car became involved in the collision, but the driver was unhurt, according to the CHP.
Paramedics tool the injured grandmother and her two granddaughters were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where the infant girl succumbed to her injuries several hours later.
Silvestri was initially booked on suspicion of drunken driving following the crash, according to the CHP.
But after the young victim died, and it was determined that Silvestri has been convicted of DUI in another case eight months ago, prosecutors ultimately charged the defendant with murder.
Under California Law, a murder charge in a DUI case necessitates an accusation of “implied malice.”
Those convicted of DUI are generally issued what’s known as a Watson advisory upon sentencing. By signing the advisory, the convict is acknowledging that DUI is extremely dangerous to human life, and that if someone is killed as result of the convict’s DUI, prosecutors may file a murder charge.
Silvestri received just such a Watson advisory earlier this year, when he was convicted of misdemeanor DUI in March in a separate case, Santiago said.
He pleaded “no contest” to a count of driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than .08 percent in Pasadena Superior Court in March, Los Angeles County Superior Court. A second charge of driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage was dismissed. Silvestri was sentenced to three years of summary probation,fined $390 and ordered to attend a three-month substance abuse counseling program.
If convicted as charged in the new case, Silvestri could face up to 25 years to life in state prison.
According to county booking records, Silvestri was being held in lieu of $2 million bail.

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Gunman sought in Pasadena car-to-car shooting


PASADENA >> Police found no suspects or victim following reports of a car-to-car road rage shooting in Pasadena early Sunday morning.
The gunfire was reported about 1:45 a.m. at Lincoln Avenue and Hammond Street, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
No victims were found in the area, and none arrived at local hospitals, he said.
“It was determined that an altercation between the drivers of two vehicles progressed to the point that one of the drivers produced a handgun and shot at the other car,” Goodman said. It was unclear whether the victim’s vehicle was struck.
Both cars fled the area, the lieutenant said. A detailed description of the shooter and his vehicle was not available.

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Rialto man wounded in shooting outside Pasadena cafe


PASADENA >> A Rialto man suffered a wound to his leg in a shooting outside a Pasadena cafe early Saturday morning, officials said.
Police first responded about 12:15 a.m. to multiple 911 calls reporting “shots fired” outside the Kingston Cafe, 333 South Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“Officers found evidence of shots having been fired,” Goodman said. But no victims were found at the scene.
“During the investigation, the victim was dropped off at a local area hospital with a gunshot wound to his left leg,” Goodman said. “The victim was treated for his injury and released from the hospital. No additional victims were located.”
No further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting, including a description of the suspect or suspects, were available Saturday afternoon.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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At least three injured in crash involving motorcycle, two vehicles in Pasadena


PASADENA >> A motorcyclist suffered major injuries and at least two other people were hurt in a three-vehicle wreck in Pasadena on Thursday afternoon, police said.
The crash, which involved a motorcycle and two other vehicles, took place just after 3:50 p.m. at Foothill Boulevard and Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
Paramedics took the injured motorcyclist to a hospital in “very serious” condition, the lieutenant said. He was described only as a man.
At least two other people from the other involved vehicles were taken to hospitals in stable condition, he said.
The circumstances of the crash were under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department’s Major Accident Investigation Team.
No further details were available Thursday night.

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