Man killed in fiery freeway crash in Santa Fe Springs


SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man died early Sunday in a fiery solo-car crash on a transition road between the 605 and 5 freeways in Santa Fe Springs, officials said.
The crash took place about 4:30 a.m. on the transition road from the northbound 605 Freeway to the northbound 5 Freeway, Officer R. Johnson of the California Highway Patrol’s Santa Fe Springs office said in a written statement.
A 2008 Mitsubishi sedan had crashed into a pole supporting an overhead freeway sign, CHP and coroner’s officials said.
“CHP personnel were unable to determine whether the vehicle was occupied due to it being fully engulfed in flames,” Johnson said.
“Santa Fe Springs Fire Department Engine No. 84 arrived on scene, extinguished the fire and determined the vehicle was occupied by one person,” Johnson said. “The person was pronounced deceased at the scene.”
The victim remained unidentified Sunday, official said.
Any witnesses or others with information are asked to contact the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office at 562-868-0503.

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“Windy City Bandit” serial bank robbery suspect jailed after Santa Fe Springs heist tried to use Uber for getaway

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SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A suspect arrested Thursday following a Santa Fe Springs bank robbery is believed to be a serial bandit sought for previous heists in Anaheim and Orange, police said Friday.
Police arrested Ryan Thomas See, 25, of La Palma minutes after Thursday’s 2:50 p.m. robbery at a Chase branch at Telegraph and Carmenita roads in Santa Fe Springs, according to Whittier police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He was taken into custody as he attempted to flee in an Uber car, officials said.
“(See) presented the teller with a demand note, claiming he had a bomb and warned he would detonate it if police or others were alerted,” Whittier police said in a written statement. “The teller complied and handed over nearly $6,000 in cash.”
Officers arrested him around the corner in South Whittier as he attempted to enter a getaway car, later found to be an Uber car he had reserved, occupied by a female driver, police and FBI officials said.
A witness aided in the capture by following the suspect from the bank and reporting his position to police, Lt. Aaron Ruiz said. The stolen cash was recovered.
Following his arrest, investigators working with the FBI determined See was the suspected “Windy City Bandit,” sought for bank robberies at Chase banks in Anaheim on Oct. 5 and in Orange on Tuesday, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
1017_NWS_WDN-L-BANDIT1The FBI gave him the moniker due to a beanie emblazoned with a Chicago Bears logo he wore during the alleged crimes, she said.
See was initially booked on suspicion of bank robbery and making criminal threats at the Whittier Police Department, but was later turned over to federal custody to face federal prosecution, Eimiller said.
Upon being confronted with bank surveillance photos from the previous Orange County robberies, “See stated that he was the person in all three of the bank surveillance photographs,” FBI Agent Steve May wrote in a criminal complaint filed Thursday in federal court.
See claimed that he committed the robberies because he owed a “Mexican guy” money for drugs, but did not know man’s name, according to the complaint.
The defendant said the unnamed accomplice drove him to the scenes of the first two robberies. See told investigators he took an Uber car to get to the third robbery.
“See stated that he was pressured by the Mexican guy to go to that bank and rob that bank,” May wrote. “See further stated that if See did not do as instructed, the Mexican guy would harm/shoot his family.”
He was ordered held without bail during his initial court appearance Friday, Eimiller said.

BANK SURVEILLANCE IMAGES courtesy of the FBI.

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Witness helps police nab Santa Fe Springs bank robbery suspect


SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Police, aided by a good Samaritan, quickly apprehended an alleged bank bandit following a robbery at a Telegraph Road bank branch Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The crime was reported just before 3 p.m. at a Chase bank, 13417 Telegraph Road, near Carmenita Road, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said. The Whittier Police Department provides police services for Santa Fe Springs.
“The suspect presented a letter to the teller indicating he had a bomb,” Ruiz said.
The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash, and the robber fled the bank on foot.
But a witness followed behind the fleeing robber in a car while reporting his position to authorities, officials said.
Whittier police found and arrested the suspect without a struggle minutes later along Parkinson Avenue, just north of Trumball Street, in unincorporated South Whittier, Ruiz said. The money stolen in the bank robbery was recovered.
The name of the suspect, described as a man in his 20s, was not available Thursday evening.

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UPDATED: Bicyclist fatally struck by train in Santa Fe Springs

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A bicyclist died after being struck by a freight train in Santa Fe Springs Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The collision took place about 2:45 p.m. on a set of tracks at Rosecrans and Marquardt avenues, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
The bicyclist, described only as a man, was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.
Witnesses indicated he was traveling north across Rosecrans Avenue and slipped in between the activated railroad crossing arms when he was struck by a train operated by BNSF, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
Friday’s incident was the second death involving a train reported in just over a week in Santa Fe Springs.
A 29-year-old man died after he was accidentally struck by an Amtrak train about 7 p.m. Oct. 2, according to police and coroner’s officials.

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Man fatally struck by train in Santa Fe Springs identified

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Coroner’s officials Thursday released the name off a 29-year-old man who died after being struck by an Amtrak train last week in Santa Fe Springs.
Peter James Guerra died at the scene of the after he was struck by a westbound Amtrak train about 7 p.m. near the 11200 block of Rivera Road, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. He was described as transient.
An autopsy determined he died from “multiple traumatic injuries,” and the death was ruled accidental, Winter said.
The man was walking along the tracks and did not hear the approaching passenger train due to a freight train passing by on a parallel set of tracks, Whittier police officials said.

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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

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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 www.my5la.com/carmenita-road-interchange.

PHOTOS courtesy of Caltrans

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