West Covina man killed by hit-and-run driver while changing tire along 605 Freeway in Irwindale identified

IRWINDALE >> Coroner’s officials have released the name of a 35-year-old West Covina man who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while changing a tire along the side of the 605 Freeway in Irwindale just over a week ago.
Kevin Armando Marquez died at the scene of the collision, which took place about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 30 along the southbound 605 Freeway, just north of Rivergrade Road, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said.
Marquez was changing a flat tire on a 2001 Honda Accord parked on the right shoulder of the freeway when he was struck, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Arlene Brannon said.
An unknown vehicle heading south veered to the right shoulder and struck Marquez, Brannon said.
Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics pronounced Marquez dead at the scene, officials said. The impact was believed to have killed him instantly.
An autopsy determined that Marquez died from multiple blunt force injuries, and his death was ruled accidental, Corral said.
The vehicle fled the scene.
A second driver struck Marquez’s body following the first collision, but the driver stopped at the scene and cooperated with investigators, officials said.
No description of the hit-and-run vehicle was available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Baldwin Park office of the CHP at 626-338-1164.

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West Covina man struck by hit-and-run driver dies

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WEST COVINA >> A West Covina man who was struck and badly injured by a hit-and-run driver while crossing Francisquito Avenue last month succumbed to his injuries Thursday, officials said. The SUV driver who fled the scene after striking him remains at-large.
Emilio Simon, 50, fought for his life at a hospital for nearly two weeks before ultimately succumbing to his injuries, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
He was walking his bicycle across the street mid-block when he was struck and severely injured by a westbound SUV about 8:10 p.m. on Jan. 23 on Francisquito Avenue, just west of California Avenue, according to police spokesman Rudy Lopez.
The driver of the SUV, described as a silver, 1997 to 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee, drove off after striking Simon, police said. It was believed to have sustained damage to the front driver side. It was last seen heading south on Sunset Avenue.
0129_NWS_SGT-L-HITRUNFOLO2Police released surveillance camera images of the involved SUV in the days following the crash in hopes of generating tips, however the hit-and-run SUV and driver have not been found.
Anyone with information is asked to contact West Covina police at 626-939-8500, or the department’s 24-hour tip hotline at 626-939-8688.

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West Covina man badly injured in 10 Freeway crash in Baldwin Park

BALDWIN PARK >> A 21-year-old West Covina man suffered major injuries and three other people suffered minor injuries in a four-vehicle wreck on the 10 Freeway in Baldwin Park Friday night, authorities said.
The crash took place about 8:45 p.m. on the eastbound 10 Freeway, just east of Baldwin Park Boulevard, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
A 21-year-old West Covina man was at the wheel of a 1997 Chevrolet Blazer believed to have triggered the crash, according to the CHP. A 26-year-old Baldwin Park man was riding as a passenger in the SUV and suffered injuries described as minor.
The Blazer, travelling at a “high rate of speed,” in the No. 5 lane, went out of control and struck a 2007 Toyota Runner traveling ahead of it in the No. 4 lane, according to the CHP statement. A 39-year-old West Covina woman and a 1-year-old West Covina inside the 4Runner were treated for apparently minor injuries.
The impact of the collision pushed the 4Runner into a 2004 Dodge directly in front of it, officials said. The Dodge was subsequently pushed into a 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser to its left. The lone drivers of the Dodge and the FJ Cruiser were unhurt.
The Blazer rolled over after the initial impact with the 4Runner, according to the CHP. The driver suffered injuries including head trauma and was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
Officers from the CHP’s Baldwin Park officer are handling the investigation.

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Man responding to Craigslist ad robbed in West Covina

WEST COVINA >> A man responding to an advertisement of a computer for sale on Craigslist ended up getting robbed Sunday afternoon in West Covina, police said.
The victim had arranged to buy a computer from the suspect online and met the purported seller about 3:40 p.m. at an apartment complex in the 2400 block of South Ridgewood Drive, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
But when the two met, the suspect motioned as if he had a gun in his waistband and demanded the victim’s money, the lieutenant said. The victim complied out of fear, and the robber fled with several hundred dollars.
The robber was described by police as a Latino man in his mid-30s, with short hair, wearing a black T-shirt and blue jeans. He was last seen running south from the scene of the robbery.

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Police still seeking West Covina hit-and-run driver

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WEST COVINA >> Police are continuing their hunt for an SUV and driver that struck and badly injured a pedestrian last week before fleeing the scene, officials said.
Emilio Simon, 50, of West Covina, has remained hospitalized in critical condition since he was struck by the SUV about 8:10 p.m. Friday in the 1200 block of West Francisquito Avenue, just west of California Avenue, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said. He has not regained consciousness since the incident.
He was pushing a bicycle across the street when he was struck by the westbound SUV, West Covina police Lt. Pat Cirrito said.
The SUV that struck him was described as a silver, 1997 to 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee, police said. It likely sustained damage to the front, driver side.
Following the collision, the hit-and-run SUV continued west on Francisquito and drove through a parking lot before heading south on Sunset Avenue and out of sight, Lopez said.
0129_NWS_SGT-L-HITRUNFOLO2Police have released a photo of the involved SUV taken from a nearby surveillance camera in hopes of generating leads.
Anyone with information was asked to contact West Covina police at 626-939-8500, or the department’s 24-hour tip hotline at 626-939-8688.

PHOTO: (top) Emilio Simon, 50 , of West Covina – courtesy of the West Covina Police Department; (below) West Covina police are seeking the Jeep Grand Cherokee pictured in this surveillance photo after it struck a pedestrian on Francisquito Avenue just west of California Avenue and fled the scene on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.

(Courtesy of the West Covina Police Department)

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UPDATED: Pedestrian injured in West Covina hit-and-run


WEST COVINA >> An unidentified man remained hospitalized with major injuries Saturday as West Covina police continued seeking the hit-and-run driver who fled the scene after striking him late Friday, officials said.
0125_NWS_SGT-L-HITANDRUNThe light-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee that struck the man about 8:10 as he pushed a bicycle across Francisquito Avenue, just east of California Avenue, West Covina police Lt. Pat Cirrito said.
Paramedics took the injured man, who was estimated to be in his 50s, to a hospital with serious injuries including head trauma, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said. He had no identification with him, and his identity remained a mystery Saturday.
The man was crossing mid-block when he was struck by the westbound SUV, police said.
After striking the pedestrian, Lopez said the hit-and-run SUV continued west on Francisquito and drove through the parking lot of DD’s Discounts, 1200 West Francisquito Ave., before heading south on Sunset Avenue and out of sight.
The SUV had a sunroof and a top luggage rack, Lopez said. It may have damage to the front end on the driver’s side.
Police asked anyone with information to contact West Covina police at 626-939-8500, or the department’s 24-hour tip hotline at 626-939-8688.

PHOTO: West Covina police are seeking the Jeep Grand Cherokee pictured in this surveillance photo after it struck a pedestrian on Francisquito Avenue just west of California Avenue and fled the scene on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.
(Courtesy of the West Covina Police Department)

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UPDATED: Female Covina Valley Unified School District teachers accused of sex with students

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WEST COVINA >> Deputies arrested two Covina Valley Unified School District teachers on Saturday on suspicion of having sexual relationships with students, officials said.
South Hills High School teacher Melody Lippert, 38, of Covina and Michelle Ghirelli, 30, who was working on special assignment at the district office, are accused of engaging in sexual conduct with male students during two separate trips to San Clemente State Beach late last year, according to Orange County sheriff’s and CVUSD officials.
Records indicate Ghirelli served as a girls’ junior varsity softball coach at South Hills High School in 2010 through 2012.
Their arrests came just 10 days after police in West Covina arrested South Hills High School part-time girls’ wrestling coach Anthony Vidales, 29, of Covina on suspicion of having sex with a female student on Jan. 7. Police disclosed Vidales’ arrest Tuesday.
0119_NWS_SGT-L-WCTEACHERS2The alleged inappropriate conduct by the women began in November, when Lippert met a group of male students at San Clemente State Beach in Orange County, sheriff’s officials said.
• SOCIAL MEDIA: What students think of the Covina teachers’ arrest
“During the meeting at San Clemente State Beach, Lippert provided alcohol to students and engaged in a sexual relationship with one of them,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
“Several weeks later, Lippert orchestrated an overnight camping trip to the same location with Ghirelli and several of the same high school students,” the statement continued. “During the camping trip, Lippert and Ghirelli are suspected of engaging in sexual relations with two students.”
The student Lippert was allegedly involved with was 18 or older, Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said. Ghirelli’s alleged victim was under 18.
The camping trips took place over the Thanksgiving and Winter holidays and was not sponsored by the school or the Covina Valley Unified School District, CVUSD spokeswoman Michelle Van Der Linden said.
District officials were in the process of placing both teachers on administrative leave Sunday, she said. Parents were notified of the arrests by a recorded telephone message.
Lippert, an English teacher at South Hills High School, has worked for the school district for 15 years, Van Der Linden said. Ghirelli has been with the district for five years.
Van Der Linden said she had no information regarding any previous assignments the teachers may have had in the district prior to their current positions.
“We’re obviously taking it very, very seriously,” Van Der Linden said. She encouraged anyone with information to contact sheriff’s investigators.
“We’re gong to have additional counselors available Tuesday for students and staff,” Van Der Linden said.
Orange County sheriff’s officials began investigating the women on the evening late Friday after West Covina police notified them of the alleged sexual misconduct in their jurisdiction, officials said.
The allegations came to light when a fellow teacher reported the alleged inappropriate relationships to district officials, Van Der Linden said.
“No additional information about the alleged sexual relationships or the student victims is being released,” according the sheriff’s department statement.
Neither woman could be reached by telephone for comment Sunday.
Social media exploded with comments about the latest scandal at South Hills High School, many from students and alumni of South Hills High School. Comments ranges from apparent concern to jokes and sarcasm.
“Headlining every news channel, go south hills,” Twitter user @_toricazarez posted on the social network.
“South hills is a joke now,” Twitter user @ChrisCjmartin posted.
Others posted about their shock in learning of the arrests.
“Mrs. Lippert would never do this? she’s a sweet person and very loving,” Twitter user @ellieeamayaa wrote.
“my prayers go out mrs lippert and mrs ghirelli.!” user @victor92999 posted on Twitter.
Officials booked Lippert on suspicion of conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Ghirelli was booked on suspicion of oral copulation and unlawful sex with a minor.
According to Orange County booking records, Lippert posted $20,000 bail and was released from custody Sunday pending her initial court appearance. Ghirelli was freed on $50,000 bail.
No additional incidents or victims were known to investigators Sunday, Hallock said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 714-647-7000. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-847-6227.

PHOTOS: Top – Melody Lippert, 38, of Covina; Below – Michelle Ghirelli, 30, of Covina. (Courtesy of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

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West Covina man arrested; cache of guns, drugs seized from home

WEST COVINA >> A police task force arrested a convicted felon Tuesday and seized a cache of 27 guns — including an assault rifle, thousands of rounds of ammunition and methamphetamine during a probation compliance check at his West Covina home, officials said.
Michael Louis Urac, 42, is accused of possession of an unauthorized assault weapon, possession of firearms by a convicted felon and possession of controlled substances and a firearm, according to Pomona police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The bust took place about 7:30 a.m. at Urac’s home in the 100 block of North Lang Avenue in West Covina, Pomona police Sgt. Bert Sanchez of the San Gabriel Valley East AB Task Force said in a written statement. Officers showed up for a probations compliance sweep, as Urac is on probation from am previous drug-related conviction.
Task force members found Urac at the home and arrested him after finding him to be in possession of methamphetamine, Sanchez said.
“During the subsequent search of his residence, a false door was located within the garage,” the sergeant said. In it were several rifles, including an assault rifle with scope and laser, and thousands of rounds of live ammunition. Several more rifles were located inside a separate bedroom belonging to the suspect. In total, 26 rifled (and) shotguns were recovered, including an assault rifle.”
Police also seized several high-capacity magazines from Urac’s home and a loaded, .380-caliber handgun from his car, Sanchez said.
According to county booking records, Urac posted $50,000 bail and the same day of his arrest and was released from custody pending his initial court appearance.
The San Gabriel Valley East AB 109 Task Force is comprised of officers from 10 San Gabriel Valley police agencies, officials said. The team’s primary task is conducting compliance checks on convicts released from custody under the guidelines of AB 109, also known as the 2011 Public Safety Realignment.

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Woman hurt in alleged DUI, hit-and-run crash in West Covina dies from injuries

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WEST COVINA >> A 31-year-old Los Angeles woman who was severely injured in an alleged DUI, hit-and-run crash in west Covina last week succumbed to her injuries Thursday, authorities said.
Sherry Yu has been hospitalized in critical condition since Dec. 30, when accused drunken driver Raymond Simon Alvarado, 21, of San Bernardino ran a red light while drunk, slamming into a car Yu was riding as a passenger in, according to West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez.
Yu died from her injuries Thursday at a hospital.
Police said Alvarado blew through a red light at Azusa Avenue while speeding west on Rowland Avenue about 9:15 p.m. His Honda Civic struck the Acura Integra Yu was riding in, which was making a left turn from eastbound Rowland Avenue onto northbound Azusa Avenue.
Yu’s boyfriend, who was driving the Acura suffered non-life-threatening injuries, officials and friends said.
0101_NWS_SGT-L-DUICRASHAlvarado then tried to flee the scene on foot, but was pointed out by a witness and arrested, Lopez said.
He appeared in Pomona Superior Court Monday and pleaded not guilty to charges of DUI causing great bodily injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than .08 percent causing great bodily injury, felony hit-and-run and driving without a license, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said. He was ordered back to court for a hearing Jan. 28.
Police notified prosecutors of Yu’s death for consideration of additional charges, such as vehicular manslaughter, authorities said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Alvarado remained behind bars Thursday in lieu of $210,000 bail at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic.
West Covina police traffic investigators returned to the scene of the crash Thursday evening to take measurements and photographs as part of the ongoing investigation, Lt. Pat Cirrito said. The intersections was closed to traffic overnight.
Family and friends have set up an online fund to help cover medical and burial expenses at http://www.gofundme.com/SherryinComa.

PHOTOS: Top – Sherry Yu, 31, of Los Angeles. (courtesy) Below – Raymond Simon Alvarado, 21, of San Bernardino. (courtesy)

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UPDATED: San Bernardino man accused of DUI, hit-and-run following West Covina crash

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WEST COVINA >> A San Bernardino man is accused of being drunk when he ran through a red light at a major West Covina intersection and crashed into another car, injuring two people late Tuesday, officials said.
Police jailed Raymond Simon Alvarado, 21, on suspicion of felony drunken driving and felony hit-and-run following the 9:15 p.m. crash at Azusa and Rowland avenues, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said in a written statement.
“Alvarado had been seen driving the Honda Civic westbound on Rowland Avenue at a high rate of speed, failing to stop for red traffic signals at the intersections of Rowland (and) Hollenbeck and Rowland (and) Azusa,” Lopez said.
As Alvarado went through the intersection of Rowland and Azusa avenues, his car slammed into an Acura Integra which had been making a left turn from northbound Azusa Avenue to Eastbound Rowland Avenue on a green signal, police said.
Paramedics took a man who was at the wheel of the Acura and a woman who was riding as his passenger to a hospital with injuries police initially described as not believed to be life-threatening.
But the woman’s condition worsened at the hospital, where she was listed in critical condition, Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Alvarado tried to flee the crash scene on foot, but a witness pointed him out as the driver of the Honda, Lopez said.
Police took Alvarado to a hospital for examination before booking him into jail, officials said.
According to Los Angeles County records, Alvarado was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Twin Towers Correction Facility in Los Angeles pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in Pomona Superior Court, officials said.
Police planned to request Alvarado’s bail be increased to $210,000 at Monday’s hearing, Patton said.

PHOTO: Raymond Simon Alvarado, 21, of San Bernardino, is accused of drunken driving and hit-and-run in connection with an injury crash in West Covina on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014. (Courtesy of the West Covina Police Department)

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