SAN DIMAS >> A Chino Hills man is accused of drunken driving in connection with a crash that severely injured a passenger and killed a dog late Tuesday, authorities said.
California Highway Patrol officials expected to arrest Matthew Kitakis, 32, upon his release from a hospital, where he was being treated for injuries suffered in the 9:50 p.m. crash on the southbound 57 Freeway at Arrow Highway in San Dimas, CHP Officer Richard McAllister said.
A 34-year-old Chino Hills woman riding as a passenger in the Ford Explorer driven by Kitakis was thrown from the SUV in the crash and suffered major injuries, the officer said. Paramedics took the woman to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with serious injuries, including possible skull and spine fractures.
A dog also riding inside the SUV died in the crash, McAllister said.
The crash occurred as Kitakis was driving the Explorer at 65 to 70 mph in the right-hand lane, officials said.
“For unknown reasons, the driver lost control of the Explorer, allowing it to veer to the right and drive up an embankment,” McAllister said. The SUV then overturned, ultimately coming to a rest back on its wheels.
The crash was being investigated by officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP.
SAN DIMAS >> Deputies jailed two men early Saturday for allegedly burglarizing a residential garage in San Dimas, officials said.
Officials ultimately arrested Alex Powell of Altadena and Briley Lambert of Covina, both 18, on suspicion of residential burglary following the 3:40 p.m. crime in the 1600 block of Via Alegre, officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s San Dimas Station said.
A resident called deputies to report someone was inside the garage, officials said. Two men were seen leaving the garage, which the resident had accidentally left open, before deputies arrived.
Deputies found Powell hiding nearby, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“Upon checking the location he was hiding, they recovered items stolen from the garage. In addition, he had a checkbook in his pocket that was stolen from an unlocked vehicle on Via Esperanza,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
About two hours after the initial report of a break-in, deputies found and arrested Lambert in the same area in connection with the burglary, according to officials and county booking records. He was allegedly found with items taken from the Via Alegre garage.
Lambert was also being sought by another local police agency, who had previously found his fingerprints at the scene of a residential burglary, sheriff’s officials said.
According to county booking records, Powell and Briley were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.
SAN DIMAS >> Deputies arrested an Oak Hills man early Sunday after a Via Verde homeowner caught him in the act of a residential break-in, authorities said.
Victor Chirino, 40, was ultimately booked on suspicion of burglary, possession of burglary tools and bringing drugs into a sheriff’s station, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rebecca Rodriguez said.
A man in his 40s called police about 6:50 a.m. to report finding a man inside his home in the 1000 block of Camino Del Cerritos, the sergeant said.
“The homeowner heard noise in the living room,” she said. He encountered a man breaking into the home through a window.
The burglar ran from the home and fled in a car after being confronted by the homeowner, Rodriguez said. The homeowner provided deputies with the intruder’s license plate number.
Responding deputies found Chirino and his vehicle in the same neighborhood, Rodriguez said. He was in possession of a crowbar and other alleged burglary tools.
Rodriguez said Chirino also had a small amount of suspected methamphetamine, which was not discovered until after he was brought into a secure portion of the sheriff’s station, resulting in an additional felony allegation.
According to county booking records, Chirino was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.
Due to technical problems with Los Angeles County booking records Sunday, information regarding Chirino’s bail and initial court appearance was not available.
SAN DIMAS >> Deputies checking out a call of someone yelling followed their noses to a marijuana grow Tuesday, authorities said.
Two people were arrested as a result of the discovery of about 100 pot plants growing inside a commercial building in the 400 block of Arrow Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. The estimated street value of the plants was not available.
Sgt. Louie Serrano of the sheriff’s San Dimas station said deputies responded to a disturbance call at that location around 4:15 p.m.
“Deputies were able to contact two individuals. They did a welfare check inside and smelled the odor of marijuana, “ Serrano said.
Deputies discovered the illicit crop and arrested the man and woman present at the building.
Trenton Dale Burbank, 46, of San Dimas was booked on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, while Cheri Diane Sawvell, 44, of Pomona was booked on suspicion of transporting or sales of a controlled substance, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Brett Lisle and Los Angeles County booking records.
Burbank was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail and Sawvell was being held in lieu of $30,000, booking records show. Both are scheduled to appear for arraignment Thursday in Pomona Superior Court.
The investigation was being handled by the Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau.
– Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales
SAN DIMAS >> A “beloved” bronze statue valued at $25,000 that has adorned the fountain in front of San Dimas City Hall for more than 15 years disappeared overnight in an apparent theft, officials said Friday.
A City Employee discovered shortly after 7 a.m. Friday morning at the fountain in front of San Dimas City Hall, 245 E. Bonita Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Andy Berg said.
Titled, “Catching Frogs,” the sculpture by renowned artist Vic Riesau was first dedicated in 1998 after being donated by former San Dimas city manager Robert Poff, according to the San Dimas Festival of Arts . The organization coincidentally was setting up for this weekend’s Wildlife and Landscape Art Show\ in the Robert L. Poff Gallery in the Community Building at city hall.
Shantel Baez of San Dimas immediately noticed the statue missing when she arrived at city hall. Two of her daughters played in front of the fountain as two of her sons took part in a karate class at the civic center.
“It’s terrible,” Baez said of the theft. “My kids love that statue. They played on it. They sat on it.”
“I feel so bad for the person who made it,” said Baez’s 9-year-old daughter, Giselle.
The motive for the theft is unknown, but the “beloved” sculpture may have been stolen merely for the value of the bronze it is made of, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The artwork is very valuable, but may have been stolen for the value of the materials as scrap metal,” the statement said.
A thief or thieves stole a much smaller portion of the statue, a frog, the previous night, sheriff’s officials said. It was discovered missing Wednesday morning.
Investigators found no tire tracks near the fountain Friday, “but there’s a presumption of a vehicle,” Berg said.
The statue stood three feet tall and was made of solid bronze, he added. “Bolts were cut or broken with brute force.”
Maribel Gershman said she last sat the statue Thursday. When she found it missing Friday, she thought perhaps it was being cleaned or polished ahead of the Wildlife and Landscape Art Show.
“It’s really surprising,” she said upon learning the sculpture had been stolen. “It’s sad. It’s depressing. I feel kind of invaded.”
Gershman said her children also had spent lots of time playing around the fountain.
“We have several photos of the kids tossing their pennies in,” she said.
Both Gershman and Shantel Baez said they were taken aback by the boldness of the theft, which took place in an open courtyard in front of city hall.
“You don’t hear a lot of crime that goes on around here,” Baez said.
Anyone with information was asked to call the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700.
PHOTOS by Brian Day and courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
SAN DIMAS >> President Barack Obama’s Friday visit to San Dimas won’t cause major disruptions for San Gabriel Valley commuters, officials said.
After wining and dining with celebrities Thursday night at actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s home, Obama Friday will declare a portion of the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument. He is scheduled to speak at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas at 1 p.m., according to White House officials.
While the park and its three entrances will be closed to the public until the event concludes about 2 p.m., “There will be no road closures,” Deputy Paul Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Parks Bureau said.
Parks Bureau deputies will also be assisting the Secret Service with security, Schrader said.
Air Force One landed just before 2 p.m. Thursday at LAX, and the president began his two-day Southland visit with a tour of Cross Campus in Santa Monica. He then headed to a fundraising event at Paltrow’s home.
Obama will leave LAX Friday afternoon.
The sheriff’s San Dimas Station was notified by White House officials that the visit may affect traffic in the area, but no deputies were requested to assist with the event, Lt. David Vega said.
La Verne Police Department officials, as well as officials at Bonelli Park, deferred all comment to White House representatives.
Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, and White House officials announced Friday afternoon’s visit to Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas.
During the San Dimas stopover, scheduled for 1 p.m., “President Obama plans to declare 346,000 acres of national forest land in the San Gabriel Mountains the nation’s newest national monument,” according to a statement from Chu, who has championed national monument status for the forest land for more than a year.
SAN DIMAS >> The traffic impact of a planned Presidential visit to San Dimas was not clear Wednesday after the sudden announcement that President Obama will be in town Friday to declare a portion of the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument.
The President was already scheduled to be in Southern California attend a fundraising event Thursday at the Brentwood home of actress Gwyneth Paltrow when Friday afternoon’s visit to Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas was announced by Rep. Judy Chu, D-27, and White House officials.
During the San Dimas stopover, scheduled for 1 p.m., “President Obama plans to declare 346,000 acres of national forest land in the San Gabriel Mountains the nation’s newest national monument,” according to a statement issued by the office of U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, D-27, who has championed national monument status for the forest land for more than a year.
Air Force One is scheduled to arrive at LAX Thursday and depart from the same airport Friday afternoon. However no details were released Wednesday regarding the President’s travel plans between the Los Angeles metropolitan area and San Dimas…
…FULL STORY in SGV Tribune
SAN DIMAS — Officials Wednesday identified an Oxnard man who died at the scene of a fiery big-rig crash on the 57 Freeway in San Dimas over the weekend.
Mario Dean, 29, died at the scene of the crash, which took place just before 5:30 a.m. Saturday on the northbound 57 Freeway, just south of Auto Center Drive, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Elissa Fleak said.
An autopsy was carried out Monday, however an officials cause of death had not been determined pending the results of additional forensic tests, Fleak said.
He was driving a big rig that rear-ended another big rig, according to California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.
The cab portion of Dean’s truck became engulfed in flames following the crash, according fire Capt. Tim Wiehe.
Dean was initially listed at a John Doe at the coroner’s office due the burned condition of his body before investigators made a positive identification.
The other driver suffered injuries described as minor in the crash, officials said.
Both directions of the 57 Freeway were shut down for about an hour following the crash, while the northbound lanes remained shut down for more than seven hours as authorities cleared the wreckage and investigated the scene.
The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Baldwin Park office of the CHP.
SAN DIMAS >> A truck driver died early Saturday after his big rig rear-ended another truck and burst into flames, prompting the closure of all northbound lanes of the freeway that was expected to last into the afternoon, authorities said.
The driver of the second truck suffered apparently minor injuries in the 5:25 a.m. crash on the northbound 57 Freeway, south of Auto Centre Drive, California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
“Two big rigs were involved in a collision. One of them became engulfed (in flames),” Polizzi said.
The driver of the burning big rig was pronounced dead at the scene, fire Capt. Tim Wiehe said.
Because the body was badly burned, the age and gender of the driver were not available, he said.
The fire burned the cab portion of the truck, which was hauling an empty trailer, Wiehe said.
Paramedics took the second driver, a man appearing to be in his 50s, to a hospital with injuries not considered to be major the captain said.
Witnesses reported what were described as “explosions” coming from the burning truck, according to CHP logs.
The sounds were likely that of the burning big rig’s tires popping, as neither truck was believed to be transporting flammable or explosive materials, Wiehe said. It was not clear what cargo had been on the flatbed trailer of the big rig that was rear-ended.
Both directions of the 57 Freeway were initially closed following the crash, Polizzi said. The southbound lanes were reopened about 6:45 a.m., however the northbound lanes were expected to remain closed through 2 p.m. as officials investigated the crash scene and worked to clear the roadway. A hazardous material crew was summoned to deal with about 75 gallons of oil spilled onto the roadway.
The crash was being investigated by officers from the CHP’s Baldwin Park office.
SAN DIMAS >> A San Dimas man is accused of stabbing his house guest and lifelong friend in the face when the two men got into an argument Saturday, authorities said.
Deputies arrested Matthew David Anderson, 26, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon following the 11:20 a.m. stabbing at a house in the 400 block of Conestoga Road, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
The victim, a 28-year-old man, was hospitalized in stable condition with stab wounds through both of his cheeks, sheriff’s Lt. David Vega said. The victim and his wife live out of state and had been staying with Anderson as house guests.
It was not clear exactly what the two men argued about before Anderson attacked the victim with a what investigators described as a “large kitchen knife,” Vega said.
The wounded man’s wife called 9-1-1 to report the stabbing, and deputies encountered the victim in front of the home. The injured man and his wife told deputies the name of the suspect, and that they believed he was still inside the house, the lieutenant said.
Deputies surrounded the home as a sergeant made “intermittent” contact with Anderson via telephone, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Three children exited the home unharmed, Vega said. They were believed to be family members of Anderson.
“(Anderson) initially said he was inside the location, but later said he fled on foot,” according to the statement.
After about two hours, the sergeant persuaded Anderson to surrender at Fifth Street and Eucla Avenue, in the presence of his mother, officials said.
“Investigators learned the victim and suspect have known each other since childhood,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
In addition to being arrested in connection with the stabbing, Anderson was also being held on outstanding warrants, officials said. He was being held in lieu of $115,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.