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
SAN DIMAS >> A Temple City woman died early Saturday in a three-vehicle crash on the 210 Freeway in San Dimas, authorities said.
Linda Marie Vasquez, 35, died at the scene of the 5:15 a.m. crash in the westbound lanes of the 210 Freeway, just west of San Dimas Avenue, according to Los Angeles County coroner and California Highway Patrol officials.
The collision involved Vasquez’s 2005 Scion xA, a 2004 Ford F-550 pickup truck towing a trailer and a 2002 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, Officer S. Stoos of the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office said in a written statement.
Vasquez was driving in the fast lane when she made an “unsafe lane change” to the No. 3 lane, the officer said. The front of the Scion struck the trailer of the Ford pickup, sending the Scion spinning out of control.
The Scion ended up “directly in front of” the Toyota Tacoma in the No. 4 lane, Stoos said. The Toyota driver was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision, and the Toyota struck the Scion on its passenger side.
A 38-year-old San Bernardino man driving the Ford truck and a 53-year-old Fontana man driving the Toyota truck were not injured, officials said.
Officials shut down the four right-hand lanes of the freeway for about four hours following the crash.
ARCADIA >> An El Monte man already sought on an auto theft warrant led police on chase in a stolen car from Arcadia to Temple City, where he was arrested following a crash early Sunday, authorities said.
Bryan Paul Sanchez, 20, was behind the wheel of a Toyota Sienna van when police tried to pull him over for a traffic violation about 3:30 a.m. at Sunset Boulevard and Duarte Road, Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said. Sanchez sped away, and the chase was on.
“The pursuit entered the city of Temple City where the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a (Southern California) Edison telephone pole,”police said in a written statement.
Sanchez continued fleeing on foot following the crash about two miles to the south at Temple City Boulevard, just south of Olive Street, police said. But he was quickly apprehended in the area.
The car he had been driving was reported stolen the previous night in South El Monte, Flores said.
Officers also found drugs and a suspected stolen credit card in Sanchez’s possession, Flores said.
He was booked on suspicion of auto theft, evading police, receiving stolen property, drug possession, hit-and-run and his outstanding arrest warrant.
Sanchez, who was already wanted on a warrant for auto theft with a history of the same, was being held without bail, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
TEMPLE CITY >> Three men carried out an armed robbery at a Temple City bank Friday, officials said.
The heist took place about 11:40 a.m. at a Bank of the West branch, 9934 E. Las Tunas Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
One of the robbers brandished a revolver and pointed it at a teller while demanding money, the lieutenant said. They fled with an undetermined amount of cash.
Deputies described the robbers as three black men. One was in his 30s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, 185 pounds, wearing blue jeans, a baseball cap and a checkered shirt.
The other two robbers were both of thin build, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, wearing gray hooded sweatshirts, dark pants and bandanas covering their faces.
They were last seen driving south from the bank on Baldwin Avenue in a light gray compact car with faded paint.
ROSEMEAD >> A jury convicted a man of murder and other charges Thursday for a drunken driving crash that claimed the life of an Temple City woman and seriously injured her husband on a 10 Freeway offramp in Rosemead last year, officials said.
The Pomona Superior Court jury deliberated for one day before finding Juan G. Rios, 25, of Perris, guilty of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, drunken driving, driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent and hit-and-run, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. Jurors also found true the special allegation that Rios inflicted great bodily injury.
He was behind the wheel of a Honda Civic that collided with a Toyota Camry about 11:15 p.m. Nov. 7 on the Rosemead Boulevard offramp of the eastbound 10 Freeway, California Highway Patrol officials said.
Rios lost control of the Civic and crashed into the Camry which contained 58-year-old Kit Ching Leung of Temple City and her husband, according to the CHP. Both cars went down an embankment.
Leung, who was a passenger in the Camry, succumbed to her injuries at a hospital, CHP Officer Doris Peniche said. Her husband, who was driving the Camry, suffered serious injuries.
Rios ran from the crash scene but was quickly found and arrested.
Rios faces up to 24 years to life in state prison when he returns to court for sentencing Dec. 3.
ARCADIA >> Sheriff’s deputies detained four people Thursday after a stolen car led them on a brief chase from Temple City to Arcadia, officials said.
The chase began shortly after 6 p.m., when deputies spotted a reportedly stolen car with a driver and three passengers traveling down Rosemead Boulevard near Broadway in Temple City, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Haynes said.
After following behind the car as backup amassed, deputies tried to pull the car over, but the driver failed to stop, initiating a pursuit, the sergeant said.
The driver stopped the car and ran at Huntington Drive and Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia, officials said. He was soon captured.
The driver’s name was not available pending the booking process, Haynes said.
Three passengers of the car were also being detained as the investigation continued late Thursday.
TEMPLE CITY >> A man suffered burns in a fire that destroyed his Temple City home early Thursday, authorities said.
The lone resident suffered first- and second-degree burns over about half of his body in the fire, which ignited about 9:40 a.m. at a single-story house in the 4800 block of Birchland Place , Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Donald Rivas said. He was conscious when rescuers took him to a hospital, and the injuries were not believed to be life threatening.
Firefighters found the injured resident already out of the home when they arrived, Rivas said.
They knocked down the flames by 10:02 a.m., fire Inspector Randall Wright said.
The house, which was densely packed with items, was a “total loss,” Rivas said. The detached garage was also damaged in the fire.
Officials estimated to value of the damage to be about $500,000.
Rivas said the fire started in a family room before spreading throughout the home. The cause remained under investigation.
IRWINDALE >> Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies stood in 24-hour guard Wednesday over the site where fellow deputy David March was fatally shot during a traffic stop 13 years ago.
Afternoon temperatures climbed into the mid-90s as deputies have continued the stoic tradition each year since March was gunned down along Live Oak Avenue, just east of Peck Road, on April 29, 2002.
Sheriff’ Jim McDonnell visited the memorial site to pay his respects.
“These deputies from Temple have taken the time to pay tribute to the life of Deputy David March,” McDonnell said. “This tribute exemplified the belief that’s shared throughout the law enforcement community that we will never forget, and that we want to respect the memory and the sacrifice through the year.”
March, 33, who was assigned to the sheriff’s Temple Station, was fatally shot after pulling over Jorge Arroyo Garcia, also known as Armando Garcia. After being captured in Mexico and extradited back to the U.S., Garcia pleaded guilty to the deputy’s murder in 2007 and received a life sentence in prison.
Two by two, deputies, primarily from the sheriff’s Temple Station, took turns standing half-hour shifts over the spot where March was fatally shot, which is marked with a permanent memorial plaque. After standing frozen in place for 30 minutes, deputies changed guards with a brief ceremony.
ARCADIA >> Detectives seeking a missing 13-year-old Arcadia boy who disappeared after school Friday afternoon found him safe Saturday in Temple City, authorities said.
The grandmother of the boy dropped him off about 8 a.m. at Dana Middle School, 1401 S. First Avenue, Arcadia police Sgt. James Trabbie said.
“We have a record of him attending school,” the sergeant said. But he was not seen after.
“Just before midnight, the reporting party notified the Arcadia Police Department that his son had not returned home from school and has not been heard from,” Trabbie said. He did not have a cell phone or any money with him.
Detectives found the boy about 11:30 a.m. at the home of a friend in Temple City, Trabbie said. Police brought him back to the Arcadia Police Department to reunite him with his parents.
TEMPLE CITY >> A gunman shot up a man’s car as he was stopped at a red light along Baldwin Avenue in Temple City early Thursday, officials said.
The shooting took place about midnight along Baldwin Avenue as the victim was heading north, approaching Bogue Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Abi Ben-Sahile said. But the crime was not reported until six or seven hours later.
Ben-Sahile said the victim, a man in his early-20s, told deputies he did not see the shooter, and initially thought someone was throwing rocks at his car.
But the man later realized bullets had struck both the front and rear of his car, the sergeant said.
The motive in the shooting was unclear.