Deputies subdued a fleeing, wanted suspect with a Taser Saturday after he tried to run deputies off the road in Pomona, then led them on a freeway chase which ended in a crash in West Covina, authorities said.
Eddie Mendez, 30, of Pomona was arrested following the pursuit, which began about 11:30 a.m., according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records. He is on felony probation or Post Release Community Supervision under AB 109 of 2011, also known as prison realignment, following drug-related convictions.
At least one civilian car was also run off the roadway during the chase, Lt. Andy Berg of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said. No injuries were reported to deputies or civilians.
Two deputies were driving in a patrol car at Gillette Road and Dudley Street in Pomona when a blue Chevrolet HHR with no license plates exited the parking lot of a nearby motel, sheriff’s officials said.
The driver, later identified as Mendez, “looked straight at them and drove toward them as if trying to strike them,” Berg said. “He tried to run them off the road.”
The deputy driving the patrol car managed to avoid a collision, turned around and began chasing the SUV.
As the fleeing SUV entered the westbound 10 Freeway, it pulled in front of a civilian car, forcing it off the road, Berg said. Officials were also looking into a report that a second civilian vehicle may have been struck by the suspect’s SUV during the chase.
Mendez continued weaving in and out of traffic as he sped down the 10 Freeway, Berg said. He soon crashed in West Covina.
“Eventually, in his weaving, he lost control. He hit the center divider near Azusa avenue,” the lieutenant said.
Mendez ran across eastbound traffic lanes and tried, but failed, to climb over a sound wall, Berg said.
Deputies chased after Mendez on foot and caught up with him as he was making a second attempt to scale the wall about 100 yards to the west.
Deputies shocked Mendez with a Taser, which disabled him and allowed them to place him in handcuffs without further struggle, Berg said.
Deputies determined Mendez was wanted on a “no bail” warrant due to a violation of parole or probation, Berg said.
After being examined at a hospital, Mendez was expected to be booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, evading police and hit-and-run, as well as the outstanding warrant.
SAN DIMAS — Two men carjacked a man of his Ford Mustang early Wednesday before getting the car stuck and abandoning the just-stolen vehicle, authorities said.
The ill-fated carjacking took place about 1:35 a.m. in the 400 block of West 5th Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Vega said.
A 21-year-old man was near his 1998 Ford Mustang when to men approached and demanded his car, the lieutenant said.
The victim refused, and one of the carjackers grabbed the man while the other pulled his keys from his pocket, Vega said.
One of the carjackers then entered the Mustang and began driving away, but the car became caught on a nearby gate, Vega said. Both men then fled the area on foot.
They were described as Latino men between 25 and 30, one with black hair and brown eyes, and the other only described as having brown eyes.
Electrical problems left nearly 200 Southern California customers without electricity in San Dimas Friday afternoon, as temperatures soared into the mid-90s.
An outage was first reported about noon in the area just northwest of intersection of the 10 and 57 freeways, according to SCE. About 140 customers in that area remained without power as of 4:30 p.m., and some were expected to remain in the dark through 2 a.m. Friday.
Another outage was reported just before 4 p.m. toward the northern end of San Dimas, according to SCE, shutting off power to 152 customers, according to SCE’s outage map, but electricity was restored within about an hour.
Also just before 4 p.m., more than 1,800 more SCE customers briefly lost power in northern San Dimas, La Verne and Glendora, though the power was restored within minutes.
SAN DIMAS — Three parked cars were destroyed in an arson fire early Wednesday, officials said.
Officials responded to a vehicle fire just after 3:40 a.m. in the parking lot of a business park in the 600 block of W. Covina Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rebecca Rodriquez said.
All three vehicles were owned by the same person, she added.
One of cars appeared to have caught fire first, before the flames spread to the other two, the sergeant said.
The hood of the first vehicle that caught fire had been stolen, Rodriquez said.
It was unclear if the car had been set afire intentionally, or if it had caught fire while someone was attempting to steal parts from it.
The destroyed cars were valued at about $10,000 in all, she added.
Deputies turned the investigation over to the investigators from the Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail.
SAN DIMAS >> A 64-year-old Los Angeles man died Saturday in a speedboat crash during a racing event on the Puddingstone Lake in San Dimas, authorities said.
Gregory Wayne Belda was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which took place about 11 a.m. at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, 120 Via Verde, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Betsy Magdaleno. An autopsy was scheduled Sunday to determine exactly how he died.
The crash took place during a the 5th Annual Lake Puddingstone Sprint Boat Races.
“During one of the events, the lead boat lost control,” Lt. Denise Stephenson of the sheriff’s Parks Services and County Services bureaus said. “The boar traveling directly behind it collided into it.”
Belda was driving the lead boat, Stephenson added.
A man driving the second boat involved in the crash was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, the lieutenant added.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division, Stephenson said. Nothing criminal was initially suspected.
Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation officials have reported 15 watercraft-related fatalities since 1968.
Three women lost their lives there in an Oct. 15, 2011, watercraft crash.
Anesia Bautista, 47, of Glendora, Maricon Abello, 34, of San Diego and Aurora Yeso, 53, of the Philippines, died after the Sea-Doo personal watercraft they were riding collided with a 21-foot speedboat, officials said.
The remainder of the weekend races were cancelled following the fatal mishap, Stephenson said.
The races were scheduled to take place Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to dusk, according to park officials and the event Facebook page.
Race organizers could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park was open Sunday, however the lake itself was closed, Stephenson said. The lake was expected to reopen for public access Monday.
SAN DIMAS — An armed man held up a San Dimas check cashing business Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime took place about 4:15 p.m. when the robber entered Check Into Cash, 865 W. Arrow Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Vicki Gregory said.
The man brandished a handgun as he demanded money, ultimately fleeing with more than $2,000, officials said.
As he left, he ordered the employees and customers to go to the rear of the business, Gregory said. He was last seen running south from the store.
Two employees and a family including two children who were inside the store at the time were unharmed, Gregory said.
Officials described the robber as a white man between 40 and 50 years old, wearing a baseball cap, a hooded sweat shirt and jeans.
- Brian Day and Greg Cappis
SAN DIMAS — A Pomona woman suffered major injuries Thursday in a solo-car crash along the 10 Freeway in an unincorporated county area just south of San Dimas, authorities said.
The woman, 42, was rushed to a trauma center by helicopter following the 2:55 p.m. crash on the eastbound 10 Freeway, just east of Via Verde Street, California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said in a written statement.
She was eastbound on the 10 Freeway in a 2000 Nissan Maxima when she exited at Via Verde Street, went through an intersection at the base of the offramp, then got onto the onramp back onto the eastbound 10 Freeway, Jimenez said.
For reasons that remained under investigation, the Nissan veered toward the left until it went off the side of the onramp, the officer said.
“The Nissan travelled out of control through the uphill embankment, became airborne and landed within the eastbound (10 Freeway) lanes,” Jimenez said.
The car overturned and skidded across traffic lanes, striking the concrete center divider wall coming to a rest on it’s wheels, blocking the two right-hand lanes of the eastbound 10 Freeway, according to Jimenez.
The woman at the wheel of the Maxima suffered major injuries to her head and face, officials said. Officials briefly shut down both directions of the 10 Freeway to allow a rescue helicopter to land.
The two right lanes of the eastbound freeway remained closed for about an hour after the crash.
Officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP are handling the investigation.
SAN DIMAS — Deputies arrested two teenage resident’s of a San Dimas boys’ home Friday after they allegedly stole money from a table at a restaurant.
The 15-year-old boys, both residents of the McKinley Children’s Center, were booked on suspicion of burglary following the 2:30 p.m. incident at Roady’s Restaurant, 160 W. Bonita Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rebecca Rodriguez said.
One of the boys distracted a waitress while the other snatched about $40 that had been left on a table by a patron to pay a bill, the sergeant said. Both young suspects then ran away.
Responding deputies found both teens in the area and took them into custody, she said. One was apprehended by sheriff’s San Dimas Station Capt. Don Slawson, who was assisting deputies on patrol.
The boys were sent to Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey.
SAN DIMAS — A family escaped their burning home unharmed Saturday as a fast-spreading fire engulfed their Via Verde house.
The fire ignited just before 2:20 p.m. inside the attached garage of a single-story home in the 1300 block of Via Verde Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Todd Woods said.
Four residents — a man, his wife and two adult nieces — were shaken following the fire, but relieved that everyone was safe.
A firefighter was hurt when the roof the burning garage partially collapsed on him, Woods said. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of what were believed to be minor injuries.
Resident Anna Solod, 27, first realized something was amiss.
“I heard a crackling noise, like fireworks,” she said. She also noticed light fixtures near the garage were blinking.
When she opened the door leading from the garage, she said found the interior engulfed in flames.
She alerted the other three residents of the fire as she dialed 9-1-1, and the family made it’s way out of their house, which was rapidly being consumed by flames.
The smoke inside the home became heavy, Solod said. “There were flames everywhere.”
Solod’s uncle, Alex Smirnoff, credited her with getting the family out safely.
“She just runs in. She just screams, ‘The house is on fire,’” he said.
“As I ran toward the garage, I could already see the fire around the door. I tried to peek in, but the backdraft was intense,” Smirnoff said. “It was so quick.”
Once the family escaped the home, the fire continued burning, causing severe damage throughout. A dollar-value estimate of the damage was not available Saturday afternoon.
Along with the damage to the rental home, two Jaguar cars parked inside the garage were destroyed, and at least one more car parked outside was damaged. Smirnoff described one of the destroyed vehicles, a 1974 Jaguar XKE, as his “pride and joy.” The other Jaguar, an XJ6 belonged to his wife.
Firefighters extinguished the flames in about 40 minutes, Woods said, though smoke continued rising from the house more than an hour later.
“It looks like they stopped the fire really well,” Smirnoff said.
Smirnoff, a graphic designer, was especially glad that firefighters managed to save two computers inside his home which contain his life’s work.
“If it wasn’t for them, I probably would be out of work,” he said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, Woods said. Nothing suspicious was initially noted.
Police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be screening drivers for sobriety and valid drivers’ licenses during three checkpoints planned this weekend in La Verne, San Dimas and La Puente.
The La Verne Police Department will hold a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint Friday.
The checkpoint will run From 6 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location in the city, police officials said in a written statement.
Also Friday, sheriff’s deputies will be holding a checkpoint from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. the following morning at an undisclosed location within San Dimas, authorities said.
And deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station plan to hold a checkpoint from 7 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. the following morning within La Puente, officials added.
Funding for the operations is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.