WEST COVINA >> West Covina police arrested an El Monte gang member who led them on a short chase in a stolen car before ditching the vehicle, as well as a loaded handgun, and trying to escape on foot, officials said.
Parolee Andrew Cuevas, 23, is accused of being a felon in possession of firearm, auto theft, evading police and violating parole, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Officers encountered Cuevas about 7:20 a.m. when they tried to pull over the car he was driving for a traffic violation, the lieutenant said.
Cuevas sped away instead, leading police on a brief pursuit before abandoning the car and running at Pacific and Puente avenues, just across the city border in Baldwin Park, he said.
“(Cuevas) proceeded to run from vehicle, making continuous furtive gestures in area of his waistband,” Patton said. Refusing repeated orders stop, “He pulled out a weapon — a handgun, loaded semi-auto — and tossed it into an adjacent yard.”
Officers then captured Cuevas without a struggle, Patton said.
The car Cuevas had been driving was found to have been taken earlier in the morning in West Covina, but not yet reported to police as stolen.
Cuevas was taken to a hospital for examination prior to booking due to a pre-existing medical condition, officials said. He was expected to be held without bail pending his initial court appearance.
TEMPLE CITY >> A man received a sentence of more than 15 years in prison Friday for a car crash following a police pursuit in Temple City that killed his passenger, officials said.
Richard John Villareal Jr., 28, pleaded “no contest” in Pasadena Superior Court to one count of gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of evading a police officer, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
Under a negotiated plea arrangement in Pasadena Superior Court, charges of murder, fleeing a police officer causing death, possession of methamphetamine, and driving without a valid license were dismissed, Santiago said.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dorothy Shubin immediately sentenced Villareal to 15 years and 8 months in state prison.
Killed in the June 2 crash at Lower Azusa Road and Arden Drive in Temple City was Villareal’s 38-year-old friend, Michael Sandoval Jr.
“The defendant led Arcadia police officers on a high-speed pursuit after they attempted to pull him over for driving a stolen car near Workman and Baldwin avenues,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Arcadia police called off the chase, but Villareal continued speeding away in the 2001 Honda Accord.
“Following the pursuit, Villareal sped through a red light at the intersection of Lower Azusa Road and Arden Drive and was struck by another vehicle,” according to the statement. Following the initial impact with a Toyota Avalon, the Honda subsequently struck two minivans, officials said.
Sandoval died at the scene of the crash, while Villareal suffered moderate injuries and one driver of one of the other involved vehicles suffered minor injuries, officials said.
The car the two men were fleeing from police in had been reported stolen two days earlier in Monterey Park.
PHOTO by Walt Mancini
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies arrested four suspect in an armed robbery at a Pico Rivera pharmacy following a pursuit and crash Wednesday, officials said.
Authorities firs received a silent alarm notification about 11:40 a.m. from a pharmacy in the 9200 block of Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said. Robbers had held up the business at gunpoint, stealing painkillers such as codeine.
Deputies soon found the suspects’ getaway car heading south on the 605 Freeway, Villanueva said.
“Deputies tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the vehicle continued to drive away and a pursuit was initiated,” the lieutenant said.
Deputies chased the sedan as it exited the freeway and ultimately crashed in a utility pole at Telegraph Road and Rosemead Boulevard, he said.
Several suspects ran from the car, but all four were captured nearby, Villanueva said.
Deputies recovered two handguns and a backpack full of items, including drugs believed to have been stolen in the robbery, he said.
The suspects were described as three men and juvenile boy. Some were treated at a hospital for apparently minor injuries suffered in the crash before booking.
The names of the adult suspects were not available Wednesday.
WHITTIER >> Police jailed an alleged car thief Saturday after he led police on a chase and crashed into a tree, authorities said.
Leonard Marin, 26, of Monterey Park is accused of auto theft and evading police in connection with the incident, which unfolded about noon, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
An officer spotted a 1998 Honda Civic with no license plates driving along Pickering Avenue near Beverly Boulevard, the lieutenant said. Police tried to pull over the car, which sped away instead.
Police chased the car south on Pickering Avenue until it made a left turn onto Philadelphia Street and lost control of the car, which struck a tree, Ruiz said.
Officers arrested Marin at the crash scene and took him to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries before booking him into jail, Ruiz said.
The car had been reported stolen in early-December in Los Angeles, he said.
EAST VALINDA >> Deputies arrested a carjacking suspect after he led them on a chase, which ended in a crash in East Valinda Wednesday, authorities said.
The incident began shortly before 2 p.m. when deputies spotted a suspect wanted in connection with a carjacking driving in the unincorporated county area of East Valinda, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials. The SUV has been reported carjacked in Hawthorne, Lt. David Infante said.
“The suspect was considered armed and dangerous,” the lieutenant said.
Aided by a helicopter, deputies chased the SUV along surface streets for about 15 minutes before the driver crashed into a tree along McLaren Street, between Jellick Avenue and Trafalgate Avenue in East Valinda, and continued to flee on foot, officials said.
Deputies captured the suspect as he was pounding on or trying to kick in the door of a nearby home, Infante said. The home may have been that of a relative of the suspect.
The name of the suspect was not available Wednesday afternoon pending booking.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
MONROVIA >> Police arrested four suspects who led Monrovia police on a short chase in a carjacked minivan before continuing to flee on foot, prompting a lockdown at an elementary school where one of the suspects was ultimately arrested, authorities said.
A police automated license plate reader spotted a stolen 2006 Ford Freestar about 11:30 a.m. at Mayflower Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, police officials said. The van had been carjacked Saturday from a senior citizen outside Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.
The driver of the minivan led officers on a short chase, which circled the neighborhood and came to and end when the minivan stopped abruptly at Lemon and Mayflower avenues, Monrovia police Lt. Heath Harvey said.
Three teens and one young adult — two male and two female — fled from the car and run in four different directions, Harvey said. Two were quickly apprehended, and a third was apprehended with help from Arcadia and Pasadena police during a search of nearby yards.
As the search for the fourth suspect continued, officials at nearby Monroe Elementary School, 402 W. Colorado Blvd. called police to report a young woman had arrived at the campus and walked into the cafeteria, Harvey said.
The school was placed on lockdown, and officers rushed to the campus where they took the female suspect into custody without a struggle, he said.
Investigators were still looking into whether the four suspects arrested after fleeing from the stolen minivan were involved in the original carjacking five days earlier in Arcadia.
A 68-year-old man was getting out of his car when two teenagers approached him and demanded his car keys, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said.
The young men approached the victim and demanded his keys, and he turned them over out of fear. The carjackers fled in the minivan. No weapon was seen.
The identity of the adult suspect was not available pending the booking process, officials said.
PHOTOS by Sarah Reingewirtz
A man and woman carried out a robbery in San Dimas and an attempted robbery in Diamond Bar before fleeing from deputies in the wrong direction down the 60 and 57 freeways, crashing their car and being arrested, authorities said.
The series of crimes began about 12:30 when the two suspects robbed a woman of her purse at gunpoint in a commercial area in the 100 block of East Via Verde in San Dimas, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tonya Edwards said.
A man pointed a gun at the woman and demanded her purse before driving off in a getaway car with a female accomplice riding in the passenger seat, Edwards said.
About 15 minutes later, deputies received a report of a second crime along Sunset Crossing Road near the 57 Freeway in Diamond Bar, sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said.
A man and woman brandished a gun at a man and demanded property, but fled empty-handed after he told them he had nothing to take, Saleeby said.
Within minutes, deputies spotted a car matching the description of the robbers’ vehicle driving on Grand Avenue along the border between Diamond Bar and Walnut, Saleeby said.
They began a pursuit, but quickly cancelled it when the fleeing Toyota Corolla got onto the 60 Freeway, heading eastbound in the westbound traffic lanes, officials said.
The car continued fleeing, heading southbound in the northbound lanes of the 57 Freeway, Saleeby said. The car ultimately crashed into a cinder block wall at the 57 Freeway and Pathfinder Road.
The man and woman were taken into custody, Saleeby said.
The suspects’ names were not available, as they suffered apparently minor injuries in the crash and were taken to a hospital for treatment prior to booking.
ARCADIA >> A Pomona man and woman fled from Arcadia police in a stolen car before being arrested Friday night, officials said.
Michael Gomez, 35, and Chelsea Casas, 25, were expected to be booked on suspicion of auto theft “at a minimum,” Arcadia police Lt. Vaughn Whalen said. Gomez was also accused of evading police.
Arcadia officers tried to pull over a 1996 Honda Civic about 8:10 p.m. at Huntington Drive an Second Avenue, the lieutenant said. The car had been reported stolen out of Pomona.
The car accelerated away, kicking off a pursuit.
The driver stopped at Huntington Drive and Fifth Avenue and let out a passenger before continuing to flee, Whalen said. Police detained the passenger, later identified as Casas.
Police chased Gomez onto the eastbound 210 Freeway before calling off the chase and electing to follow the car via helicopter, Whalen said.
Officers watched from a safe distance as Gomez exited the freeway, abandoned the car at a mobile home park at Foothill Boulevard and Garey Avenue and ran, officials said. Pomona police found and arrested him within minutes.
PASADENA >> A tip from a neighbor led police to arrest three teenagers following a Pasadena home break-in and a short car chase Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The break-in was first reported about 12:45 p.m. at a home in the 1600 block of Paloma Street, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“A citizen reported three suspects were in the process of burglarizing a residence, Goodman said.
Officers arrived to see three teenage boys driving away from the home in a 1994 Acura Integrta, the lieutenant said. The driver refused to pull over, starting a 90-second chase that ended when the driver lost control and crashed into the side yard of a home along nearby Allen Avenue.
The young suspects continued fleeing on foot, Goodman said. Police quickly apprehended two of them, but the third eluded immediate capture.
Police found him hiding behind a shed, but he refused to surrender, Goodman said. Police dog “Figo” helped subdue the 17-year-old burglary suspect, who was taken to a hospital for treatment of a dog bite to his arm before being booked.
Electronics and jewelry stolen from the Paloma Street home were found inside the suspects’ car, which had been reported stolen to Los Angeles police Tuesday, Goodman said.
PASADENA >> Prosecutors filed criminal charges Wednesday against an Altadena man who led authorities on a three-hour chase throughout Los Angeles County over the weekend following a dispute with a neighbor, officials said.
Karnik Kendirian, 48, is accused of evading police, making criminal threats and five counts of vandalism in connection with Sunday’s lengthy, high-speed pursuit and the alleged crimes that preceded it, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Officials said in a written statement. He was arrested at his home Monday morning, hours after Pasadena police called off the wild pursuit as it passed through their city.
An arraignment hearing scheduled for Wednesday was postponed to Thursday, court officials said.
The incident series of events began Saturday, when Kendirian scrawled graffiti on his neighbor’s property in Altadena, district attorney’s officials said. He then allegedly threatened his neighbor for reporting the incident to authorities.
“In addition, (Kendirian) is charged with smashing a car windshield, scratching another car door and two other acts of vandalism,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
California Highway Patrol officers found Kendirian driving about 5 p.m. Sunday and began pursuing him on the 210 Freeway in Altadena when he refused to pull over, officials said.
Traveling at speeds of up to 100 mph, the fleeing suspect led several police agencies on a chase along the 210, 134, 2, 605, 10 and 57 freeways, as well as surface streets.
Pasadena police took over the chase when it returned to their city for the second time after a lap around much of the county. Officers cancelled their pursuit, electing to follow-up with their investigation later instead.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Kendirian about 8:35 a.m. Monday at his Altadena home, according to officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
If convicted as charged, Kendirian could face more than three years in state prison.
He was initially held in lieu of $50,000 bail, records show. Prosecutors planned to ask that bail be increased to $125,000.