Man struck, killed by train in Santa Fe Springs

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man died after being struck by an Amtrak train in Santa Fe Springs Friday afternoon, officials said.
The apparent accident was reported about 7 p.m. along the 11200 block of Rivera Road, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
The victim, a 29-year-old man believed to be homeless, died at the scene, officials said.
The conductor of the westbound train reported seeing the man walking along the tracks before sounding the train’s horn and applying the brakes, police said. But the man did not get out of the way in time.
“Initial reports indicate it is possible the victim could not hear the oncoming train due to a freight train passing at the same time, in the opposite direction, along parallel tracks,” according to the police statement.
The man’s name was withheld pending notification of family.

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UPDATED: Caseworker attacked with caustic chemical at Santa Fe Springs child services office

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A caseworker at Santa Fe Springs social office suffered burns to her arm after an unidentified man and woman threw an unknown caustic chemical on her Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The attack was reported about 4:25 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services office, 10355 Slusher Drive, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
The suspects approached the victim in the parking lot, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.”
“They threw an unknown chemical on her,” Scoggins said.
Paramedics took the woman to a hospital for treatment of injuries to both arms described as moderate, he said. She appeared to be in her early 40s.
The woman washed off the substance and discovered it had left burns, Ellis said. It was yet to be been determined what the liquid thrown on the victim was.
The female suspect through the substance, while the man drove their car, described as a blue or gray sedan, Scoggins said.
The female attacker wore her hair in a pony tail, Scoggins added. No further description of the suspects was available.
Police searched the area but did not find the attackers, officials said.
Both suspects were initially described as male, however investigators later determined on of the suspects was a woman, Scoggins said.
Further details regarding the circumstances of the incident were not available.
It was unclear whether they knew the victim, or why they targeted her in the bizarre assault.
“At this point, I don’t know what the motive could possibly have been,” Scoggins said.
Anyone with information can reach the Whittier Police Department at 562-567-9200.

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Man accused of kidnapping 4-year-old son during supervised visit in Santa Fe Springs

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man abducted his 4-year-old son during a supervised visit at a Santa Fe Springs social services office Thursday before police arrested him and recovered the boy about two hours later, officials said.
Francisco Rosas Espinoza, 42, is a Mexican national in the U.S. on a two-week visa to visit his son, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins.
He was visiting his son about 2 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services office in the 10300 block of Slusher Street when he left with his son, the officer said.
“We had officers and detectives scouring the area,” Scoggins said. A California Highway Patrol helicopter also joined in the search.
Officials spotted Espinoza and his son about 4:30 p.m. in the area of Pioneer Boulevard and Hamden Place, police said. He was trying to hide.
“There was a short standoff. He was holding on to the victim, refusing to let him go,” Scoggins said. “There was a brief struggle.”
Officers managed to wrestle the boy away from Espinoza and take the father into custody, he said. An officer was treated for a minor injury suffered in the confrontation, but neither the boy nor his father were hurt.
Espinoza was booked on suspicion of child abduction, child endangerment and resisting arrest, Scoggins said.
The boy was returned to the custody of DCFS.

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Suspect sketch released following attempted kidnapping in Santa Fe Springs

0730_NWS_NWS-L-WHITSKETCH1SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Police have released a composite sketch of a man who exposed himself to a woman and tried to kidnap her as she walked along Pioneer Boulevard earlier this month.
The victim, a 57-year-old Downey woman, escaped with only minor abrasions following the failed abduction, which took place about 7:45 a.m. July 5 in an alley along Pioneer Boulevard, just north of Houghton Avenue, according to Whittier police Lt. Kent Miller.
The woman was walking when the suspect called out to the woman from a black SUV, Miller said.
“He asked her to come over to his truck, when he suddenly grabbed her by the wrist and tried pulling her toward his driver’s side door,” police said in a written statement. “The male suspect made several lewd comments and exposed himself.”
The woman managed to pull free and run away. The attacker was last seen driving north on Pioneer Boulevard.
Police described the man as Latino, 30 to 35 years old,of medium build, clean-shaven, with short black hair combed backward.
ANyone with information is asked to contact Whittier police Detective Kremling at 562-409-1850.

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Nightly closures of 5 Freeway begin in Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Caltrans is kicking off three weeks of overnight closures of both directions of the 5 Freeway in Santa Fe Springs and Norwalk Friday as crews demolish the old Carmenita Road Bridge as part of an ongoing construction project, officials said.
0711_NWS_WDN-L-BRIDGE2The entire 5 Freeway between Valley View Avenue in Santa Fe Springs and Rosecrans Avenue in Norwalk will be closed from midnight to 5 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, as well as from 11 p.m. Fridays to 7 a.m. Saturdays, Caltrans officials said in a written statement.
The closure will allow workers to demolish the old two-lane Carmenita Road bridge spanning the freeway, officials said.
The new 10-lane bridge was opened to traffic on July 3, although until new ramps are constructed, only four lanes are accessible in each direction.
0711_NWS_WDN-L-BRIDGE4The westbound 91 Freeway connector to the northbound 5 Freeway will also be shut down nighty between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., as well as the southbound 605 Freeway connector to the southbound 5 Freeway.
The construction project will widen the 5 Freeway between Alondra Avenue and Shoemaker Avenue with an additional carpool lane and an additional general use lane in each direction. The shoulders are also being widened, and a center median built.
For more information, visit

PHOTOS courtesy of Caltrans


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Bumble Bee Foods, 2 workers deny charges in death of worker trapped in oven at Santa Fe Springs plant


SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Tuna manufacturer Bumble Bee Foods LLC, an employee and a former employee pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges related to the death of a worker who was cooked to death inside an industrial oven at the company’s Santa Fe Springs plant, authorities said.
Bumble Bee Foods LLC, along with former safety manager Saul Florez, 47, of Whittier and director of plant operations Angel Rodriguez, 63, were each charged last month with three felony counts of willful violation of safety rules in connection with the Oct. 11, 2012 industrial mishap at the plant, 13100 Arctic Circle.
Killed was 62-year-old father of six Jose Melena of Wilmington, who became trapped and cooked to death in a massive industrial oven used to sterilize cans of tuna, officials said.
Melena was working inside the cylindrical, 35-foot-long oven when another employee assumed Melena had gone to the restroom, according to OSHA’s report.
“Coworkers were unaware that Melena was inside the oven when they loaded multiple carts, collectively containing about 12,000 pounds of tuna, closed the front door and started the oven,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. “The victim inadvertently became trapped in the back of the super-heated, pressurized steam cooker.”
AR-150429454Hours later, after the oven had been heated to more than 270 degrees, coworkers noticed Melena was missing and ultimately discovered his badly burned remains inside the oven, officials said.
The defendants are due back in Los Angeles Superior Court July 14 for a motions hearing, district attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said.
The California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health levied nearly $74,000 in fines against Bubble Bee Foods for safety violations the following year.
If convicted as charged, Florez and Rodriguez each face up to three years in prison, as well as fines of up to $250,000. San Diego-based Bumble Bee Foods could face a fine of up to $1.5 million.

PHOTOS: [TOP] – Jose Melena, 62, of Wilmington was a Bumble Bee Foods workerkilled in when he accidentally became trapped inside an industrial oven at the company’s Santa Fe Springs plant on Oct. 11, 2014. (Courtesy) [BELOW] – The front of Bumble Bee Foods LLC in Santa Fe Springs on Friday October 12, 2012. The plant was the site of an insustrial accident the day before in which a 62-year-old employee died after becoming trapped inside an industrial oven.
(File: SGVN/Staff Photo by Keth Durflinger)

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UPDATED: Man fatally struck by SUV in in Santa Fe Springs; driver arrested

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Police arrested a driver Saturday after his SUV struck and killed a Whittier man in a crosswalk, authorities said.
Los Angeles county coroner’s officials identified the victim as 62-year-old Michael Ray Stilwell of Whittier.
He was walking north across Washington boulevard within a crosswalk about 9:45 a.m. when he was struck by a Mitsubishi Montero making a left turn from southbound Broadway to eastbound Washington Boulevard, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said. Paramedics pronounced Stilwell dead at the scene.
Ruiz said the driver of the SUV remained at the scene.
About three hours after the collision, traffic investigators arrested Rogelio Garcia, 50, on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. Intoxicated driving was not initially suspected.
According to county booking records, Garcia was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Whittier Police Department jail pending his initial court appearance.

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Whittier man arrested following Santa Fe Springs motel robbery

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Police arrested a man Thursday after he robbed a Firestone Boulevard motel, officials said.
Jason James Santoorjian, 29, of Whittier was jailed on suspicion of robbery, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
The crime took place about 11:30 a.m. at a motel in the 13400 block of Firestone Boulevard, police officials said.
Shortly after robbing the motel, deputies a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter spotted the suspect near what was ultimately determined to be his car in the parking lot of a business several blocks away, Scoggins said. Officers arrested Santoorjian in connection with the reported robbery.
Inside Santoorjian’s car, police found an “airsoft” BB gun believed to have been used in the heist, along with cash believed to have been stolen during the crime, Scoggins said.
Santoorjian was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

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Man shot to death in Santa Fe Springs

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man died after a confrontation escalated into gunfire late Wednesday, police said.
The fatal shooting took place just before 7 p.m. in the 9900 block of Painter Avenue, near Barton Circle, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
The victim, described as a Whittier man in his 20s, died at the scene, the lieutenant said. His name was not released pending notification of family.
He was walking north along Painter Avenue when a silver compact car came to a stop near him, Ellis said.
A passenger exited the car and began arguing with the victim, he said. The argument turned into a fight.
“The suspect pulled out a handgun and fired numerous times, striking the victim,” Ellis said.
The killer then got back into the car, which sped off, he said.

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Man accused of series of arson fires in Whittier, Santa Fe Springs

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A homeless man accused of setting at least four fires in Whittier and Santa Fe Springs over the weekend
pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four counts of arson, authorities said.
Police arrested Jesse Jesus Provencio, 27, Monday in connection with an arson fire reported the previous day in front of a Santa Fe Springs business, according to Whittier police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. He was described as a transient known to frequent the Santa Fe Springs area.
He’s accused with igniting four arson fires in all Sunday, scorching trees and brush but no structures, according to police and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
Police and firefighters responded shortly before 11:15 a.m. Sunday to a report of a palm tree on fire in the 11900 block of Burke Street, Whittier police said in a written statement.
“Upon arrival, officers found a palm tree to the front of a local business fully engulfed in flames,” according to the police statement. Santa Fe Springs firefighters quickly doused the flames.
“The business was closed at the time and there were no injuries reported,” according to the statement. The fire caused an estimated $300 worth of damage.
The suspect was gone when officials arrived, police said. But detectives obtained surveillance camera footage which had captured the image of the alleged arsonist. The description was distributed to patrol officers.
Officers spotted a man matching the description near the scene of the Burke Street fire just before 11 a.m. Monday and arrested him, police said. The suspect, later identified as Provencio, was arrested on suspicion of arson.
Investigators soon linked Provencio to at least three additional fires that occurred the same day.
In addition to the fire in the 11900 block of Burke Avenue, prosecutors also charged Provencio with lighting another small arson fire in the 11800 block of Burke Street in Santa Fe Springs, and two in the 11800 block of Grande Vista Avenue in Whittier, according to a felony complaint filed against him.
Investigators continued working to try to connect Provencio to other recent suspected arson fired, including one Saturday in the 11800 block of Washington Boulevard, near the 605 Freeway, in which eight palm trees were scorches, Scoggins said.
The officer added that is was fortunate the suspect was captured before the series of fires resulted in more serious property damage or injury.
While a motive for the alleged arsons was unclear, Scoggins said there was no indication Provencio harbored an particular animosity toward the business in front of which he lit the fire.
According to county booking records, Provencio was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail. He was scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court Feb. 4 for a preliminary hearing setting, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.

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