Two young men killed in Pasadena multi-vehicle wreck

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PASADENA >> A violent five-vehicle wreck on the 210 Freeway in Pasadena initially thought to have killed one person Friday afternoon left two Northern California men dead, officials said Saturday.
Authorities initially pronounced Tristan Lee Witte, 20, of San Rafael dead at the scene immediately following the 4:50 p.m. crash on the eastbound 210 Freeway near Sierra Madre Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Marion Sainz said. He was the driver of a 2004 Buick sedan that was mangled into an unrecognizable mass of metal after being crushed between two trucks, officials said.
But firefighters continued working to access what had been the passenger compartment of the Buick, ultimately discovering the body of a passenger several hours later, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Palmer described the passenger as a 20-year-old Novato man. Coroner’s officials were yet to identify the passenger Saturday, Sainz said.
The chain-reaction collision was initiated when a 2007 Nissan box truck collided with 2012 Jeep Cherokee in the carpool lane, Officer T. Palmer of the California Highway Patrol’s Altadena area office said in a written statement.
“The Jeep was pushed into a red Buick, driven by (Witte),” Palmer said. “The box truck continued in an easterly direction, where it collided with a Chevy GMC (pickup truck).”
“This impact caused the Buick to fold in half, causing fatal injuries to the driver and passenger,” Palmer said.
The Chevy pickup rolled onto its side in the fast lane and was broad-sided by a 2015 Hyundai sedan, he said.
The four drivers of the involved vehicles other than the Buick were treated for minor injuries, officials said. All had been treated at local hospitals and released by Saturday morning.
“At this time, DUI is not a factor in this collision,” Palmer said.
The crash briefly prompted the closure of all eastbound lanes of the 210 Freeway. A Sig Alert remained in affect for some lanes through nearly 11 p.m., causing a backup for miles.
The cause of the deadly crash remained under investigation.
Any witnesses can reach the CHP’s Altadena area office at 626-296-8100.

PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department.

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UPDATED: Fatal crash reported on 210 Freeway in Pasadena

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PASADENA >> One person died and two others suffered injuries in a multi-car crash that shut down the eastbound 210 Freeway in Pasadena Friday afternoon, officials said.
The crash, which involved at least five vehicles, was first reported at 4:57 p.m. on the eastbound 210 Freeway, just west of Sierra Madre Boulevard, according to California Highway Patrol and Pasadena Fire Department officials.
One person was pronounced dead at the scene, CHP Officer Jennifer Bond said. No description was available.
The vehicle in which the person was traveling was “crushed” an unrecognizable, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Two other victims were treated for minor injuries suffered in the crash, she said.
Another couple of people were treated by paramedics for issues such as heat exhaustion and chest pain while stuck in traffic behind the crash scene, Derderian added.
Authorities initially shut down all eastbound lanes of the freeway to allow ambulances to access the scene, Bond said.
“(Eastbound) traffic was shut down completely for probably half approximately half and hour,”Derderian said.
Officials gradually reopened lanes through the afternoon, causing a major backup during the rush-hour commute.
Traffic on the Metro Gold Line tracks was reduced to one track as officials inspected the track closest to the crash for damage or debris. Buses were used to help passenger travel between the Lake and Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line Stations, according to Metro.
The crash was being investigated by the CHP’s Altadena area office. Anyone with information can reach the office at 626-296-8100.

PHOTO courtesy of L.A. Metro

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Woman robbed at gunpoint in front of her East Pasadena home


EAST PASADENA >> A woman arrived home this week in East Pasadena to find to be confronted by two gunman who demanded her valuables, officials said.
The crime took place about 12:25 a.m. Tuesday in front of a home in the 100 block of Madre Street in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tom McNeal said.
A woman in her 30s pulled in to her driveway, the lieutenant said. Before she got out of her car, two men approached her from both the driver-side and passenger-side of her car.
Both men brandished handguns and demanded her valuables, McNeal said. The woman handed her wallet and cell phone through a partially opened car window and the suspect fled.
The robbers wore hooded sweat shirts and dark clothing, he said. A detailed description was not available.
They got into a small, green, four-door compact car, which sped north on Madre Street, then got onto the eastbound 210 Freeway, McNeal said. Deputies searched the area, but did not find the robbers.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-448-9861. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Police disarm, arrest knife-wielding man in Pasadena


PASADENA >> Police used a Taser to disarm and arrest a homeless burglary suspect believed to be high on drugs who confronted officers with a knife in each hand early Saturday, officials said.
Charles Romero, 50, was ultimately booked on suspicion of burglary and assault on police officers, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
The incident began about 2:30 a.m. after officers received a report of a man in the street armed with a knife in the 100 block of West Dayton Street, the lieutenant said.
Officers encountered Romero, a homeless man known to frequent Pasadena, “with a kitchen knife in each hand.”
Romero appeared “agitated” and was “yelling incoherently,” but initially complied with police command to drop the knives and back away from the weapons, Goodman said.
The suddenly, Romero sprints back to the knives, picked them up and began advancing on officers, Goodman said.
“The suspect walked parallel to the officers while holding both knives over his head in a threatening manner,” he said.
Police used a Taser on the man, causing him to again drop the knives. Officer then took Romero into custody without a further struggle.
Officials soon learned that Romero had stolen the two kitchen knives during a break-in at a nearby apartment, Goodman said. Based on his behavior, police suspected Romero was under the influence of a stimulant, such as methamphetamine.
Goodman commended the judgement and restraint of the officers.
“Officers involved used exceptional decision making skills, combined with sound tactics, which clearly prevented as lethal encounter,” he said.

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Pasadena police make biggest fireworks bust in recent history; pounds of marijuana also found, 2 arrested during raid


PASADENA >> Police serving a search warrant at a Pasadena home this weekend discovered several pounds of marijuana, as well as the city’s largest single illegal fireworks seizure in recent history at more than 360 pounds, authorities said.
Stacy James Callum, 40, of Pasadena and Derrick Lamar Johnson, also known as Derrick Callum, 40, of Pasadena were booked on suspicion of felony marijuana possession and misdemeanor possession of illegal fireworks, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. The arrests took place about 6:30 p.m. Saturday at a home in the 1800 block of Navarro Avenue.
Officers arrived at the home with a warrant as part of an ongoing drug-related investigation, Lt. Vasken Gourdkian said. The search and arrests took place without incident.
“During the investigation, several pounds of marijuana was seized along with a large cache of illegal fireworks in excess of 360 pounds,” Gourdikian said. The specific amount of marijuana seized was not available.
“The category of the fireworks were dangerous and illegal to possess in the State of California and County of Los Angeles,” the lieutenant said in a written statement.
“This is the single largest seizure of fireworks within the City’s recent history,” according to Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez.
Last year, for example, police and firefighters confiscated a total of less than 100 pounds of fireworks during the entire Independence Day season. The task force will continue seeking out fireworks violators through Monday.
All fireworks are illegal in Pasadena.
According to county booking records, both suspect were released from jail Sunday pending their initial court appearances after posting $20,000 bail each.

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Covina honors fallen police sergeant on 10th anniversary of death


COVINA >> Police and city officials honored Covina police Sgt. Scott Hanson Sunday on the 10th anniversary the day he became the city’s first officer killed in the line of duty following an car crash.
Hanson’s former colleagues shared stories and memories of the 22-year lawman with his family, including wife Allison Hanson, daughter Sarah Hanson and son Andrew Hanson, at the Covina Police Memorial outside the Covina Police Department.
Scott Hanson raised his family in Covina, just down the street from the police station. Andrew Hanson, who followed in his father’s footsteps, has just completed his probationary period with Glendale Police Department, becoming a full-fledged patrol officer.
“It’s been 10 years. It feels like the blink of an eye,” Andrew Hanson said.
“This was a good way to honor my dad,” Andrew Hanson said of the intimate ceremony, which included a wreath presentation by an honor guard, and renditions of “Taps” and “Amazing Grace” performed by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Emerald Society. “This is the city he loved. I’m glad they love him back.”
Video: Sgt. Scott Hanson Memorial 1
Sgt. Scott Hanson, 45, suffered major injuries when another vehicle ran a red light and struck his patrol car on Aug. 14, 2003.
Hanson fought to stay alive for nearly thee years before ultimately succumbing to the injuries he suffered in the crash on July 3, 2006.
Allison Hanson thanked the department for keeping her husband’s memory alive and strong.
“It was very much from the heart, and we really appreciate that,” she said of the memorial. “Everybody here is very special to us.”
Sarah Hanson has also drawn inspiration from her father’s legacy in choosing her own career path, her mother said.
She just graduated from California State University, San Bernardino, with a degree in kinesiology and hopes to find ways to avoid or reduce the severity of on-duty injuries to law enforcement officers, Allison explained.
Chief Kim Raney told of first meeting Scott Hanson as a new recruit. He shared stories of good times, ranging from police work to watching Hanson’s family grow up.
“Scott, continue to rest well, my friend, because you did it right,” the chief said.
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At the Covina Police Memorial, which was dedicated to Hanson when completed in 2013. At the time, Hanson was the only Covina officer to have fallen in the line of duty.
One other fellow Covina police officer has since been added to the memorial wall alongside Hanson’s. Officer Jordan Corder died following an on-duty motorcycle crash on Sept. 30, 2014.
Covina Mayor Kevin Stapleton said Hanson was mourned and missed as a member of the Covina community’s “family.”
“(He) did a lot for our community. He was a cog. He was one of the people that you could rely on. He was trustworthy. He was there when you need him. He did the job that needed to be done,” the mayor said.
Stapleton noted that Hanson died on the eve of Independence Day.
“Part of what makes America free is officers and fine police people like Scott Hanson and the fine job he’s done for our community,” he said. “I really want to respect and honor his memory.”

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Cockatiel rescued from burning home in Pasadena

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PASADENA >> Firefighters rescued a cockatiel and saved residents’ prized possessions after a “stubborn” fire scorched a Pasadena Saturday afternoon.
A young man and woman who were home when the fire ignited about 1 p.m. along Las Lunas Street, just west of Altadena Drive, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Both occupants, a brother and sister, managed to get of the home before firefighters arrived after being alerted to the fire by smoke alarms and the smell of smoke, she said. The brother was examined for possible smoke inhalation, but did not appear seriously injured.
0703_NWS_PSN-L-PASFIREThe “very stubborn” fire remained primarily confined to the home’s attic and roof, Derderian said. Firefighters worked for about half an hour to extinguish it.
Firefighters rescued a caged pet cockatiel from the burning home, and also managed to save a poster autographed by basketball star Kobe Bryant, at the request of a resident, she said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation. A dollar-value estimate of the damage was not yet available, however Derderian described the damage to the home as “significant.”

PHOTOS courtesy of Pasadena Fire Department Chief Bertral Washington

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Man carjacked in Pasadena


PASADENA >> A carjacker apparently knocked a man unconscious before driving off in the victim’s car Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The carjacking took place about 1:30 p.m. in the area of Lincoln Avenue and Washington Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
A 20-year-old Pasadena man arrived in the neighborhood to visit a friend and left his vehicle parked, unattended with the keys in the ignition, he said.
Upon returning to his late-model Nissan sedan, the victim was confronted by the carjacker, who had the car keys, the lieutenant said.
The victim demanded the keys back, and the carjacker threatened to assault him, Luna said.
The next thing the victim knew, he awoke on the ground with a cut on his forehead, Luna said. The victim believed the suspect had attacked him.
A detailed suspect description was not available.
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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Well-dressed gunman flees empty-handed after failed shoe robbery in Pasadena


PASADENA >> A would-be sneaker thief fled empty-handed Thursday after arranging to buy an expensive pair of sneakers from another man via an online advertisement, then tried to rob the seller of the high-end shoes at gunpoint, police said.
The incident unfolded shortly after 11:15 a.m. at a shopping center at Washington Boulevard and Allen Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The victim, a 26-year-old Pasadena man, arranged to meet the purported buyer at the shopping center to complete the transaction, Luna said.
“During the transaction, the suspectgave the victim a quantity of money, with a note instructing to give him the shoes,” the lieutenant said.
When the victim did not immediately respond, the would-be robber snatched back the money and lifted his shirt to display a handgun tucked into his pants, Luna said.
The robber ultimately fled without the shoes, he said. He was last seen running north along Allen Avenue.
Police described the gunman as a black man between 20 and 30, of thin build, with short hair. He wore a business suit and a hat.
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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San Marino police arrest San Gabriel man, woman in connection with alleged burglary spree


SAN MARINO >> Police arrested a man and woman from San Gabriel in connection with a series of burglaries and other theft-related crimes after they broke into a San Marino home through a doggy door Tuesday, officials said.
Arthur Edward Hernandez, 31, and Tracey Lee Viera, 42, were booked on suspicion of burglary, grand theft, identity theft, receiving stolen property and trespassing following their arrests shortly after 9 a.m. in the 2300 block of Robles Avenue, according to San Marino police and Los Angeles County booking records.
A resident called police to report a unfamiliar black Acura was parked in their driveway, San Marino police Sergeant Tim Tebbetts said in a written statement.
“Officers arrived on scene within two minutes caught two suspects attempting to remove property from the location,” Tebbetts said. They were detained without a struggle.
Police found items from the home deposited around the house and backyard in advance of a quick getaway, the sergeant said.
The suspects — later identified as Hernandez and Viera — “entered the house by reaching through a dog door and unlocking the rear door,” Tebbetts said. They broke into the house, as well as the detached garage.
Officers found several pieces of mail not belonging to the suspects, as well as other suspected stolen items, in the suspects’ car, police said.
“Officers were able to link both suspects to two other burglaries in San Marino and one burglary in Pasadena,” Tebbetts said.
Detectives are seeking any additional victims of the burglars.
Hernandez and Viera were being held in lieu of $50,000 each pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Thursday in Alhambra Superior Court, records show.

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