ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> A mountain biker from Torrance found dead in the Angeles National Forest north of Altadena last year died of natural causes, and not as a result of a biking accident, an autopsy found.
Evan Bruce Sisson, 49, of Torrance, died from ischemic heart disease and atherosclerotic coronary artery disease, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s records. Investigators also noted a medical history of hypertension and ruled the death natural.
His body was found Jan. 31 along the Brown Mountain Truck Trail amid a search for the cyclist, who was reported missing after failing to return from a ride the previous day, officials said.
Though deputies notes some injuries on the body consistent with a fall from his bike, a cause of death was not immediately apparent. Following the initial autopsy, Sisson’s cause of death was delayed pending further forensic testing.
WHITTIER >> One person died and five more were injured after a tree fell onto a group of people at Penn Park in Whittier on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
•Video: Tree falls on group of people in Whittier
The incident was first reported about 4:40 p.m. at the park, 13950 Penn Street.
Firefighters treated six patients in all, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said via Twitter.
“The injured were transported to local area hospitals where it has since been reported one of the victims has succumbed to their injuries,” Whittier police officials said in a written statement. “Another, described only as a 4-year-old female, is in critical condition as a result of head trauma.”
Witness Gilbert Duran, who was photographing a Quinceanera celebration at the park, said the tree toppled as a wedding party was taking pictures beneath it.
Families, including children, went rushing out from under the tree, he said. Some had to be pulled free from the by good Samaritans and rescuers. Witnesses performed CPR on at least one injured woman.
“It’s nuts. This tree is humongous,” he said. “I can’t believe this.”
“They’re taking pictures under this tree and all of a sudden it jut collapsed,” Duran said. We just watched some little kids go flat underneath that tree.”
Duran said he and his group had been standing under the tree only minutes before, but had moved to another spot in search of better lighting for their own photography.
“I hope they’re going to be OK. Pray for these families at Penn Park in Whittier,” he said.
The cause of the mishap was yet to be determined.
“This is an ongoing investigation and it is unknown at this time as to what may have caused the tree to fall,” according to the police statement.
No further details were immediately available.
PHOTO via Keith Durflinger
MARYLAND >> A 32-year-old Altadena man died over the weekend after being shot in a suspected hunting accident in Maryland, authorities said.
Vincent Cavallo died at the scene of the shooting, which took place about just before 9:30 a.m. on Saturday on a private piece of land in the Thurmont area, near Camp David, Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thompson said.
An autopsy was yet to be completed by coroner’s officials, but the initial investigation indicated Cavallo accidentally shot himself in the head with a .30-06 hunting rifle, she said.
It appeared he either tripped or dropped his rifle when the firearm discharged and struck him in the head, Thomson said.
He was on his first hunting trip with his uncle when the fatal mishap occurred, she said.
The two men had been separated for about half an hour as they searched for deer when the uncle heard a shot ring out, according to Thompson. The uncle initially thought his nephew had taken a shot at a deer.
But when the man sought out his nephew, he found him lying mortally wounded.
“It was his first hunt. He was excited,” Thompson said of Cavallo.
He had recently completed a hunter safety course in California, which his uncle insisted upon before taking him on the trip.
But “to all indications,” Cavallo was carrying the loaded rifle with the safety off, she said. Use of the rifle’s safety likely could have prevented the incident.
The suspected accidental discharge was not the only one reported Saturday, Thompson said. Another hunter suffered a gunshot wound to his leg in a similar incident.
Saturday marked the first day of Maryland’s two-week, modern firearms deer hunting season.
AZUSA >> Coroner’s officials on Saturday released the identity of a Los Angeles man who drowned in the San Gabriel River at the northern edge of Azusa last week after falling into the water.
Mark Christopher Clayton, 55, died at a hospital following the mishap, which took place about 4:40 p.m. on Nov. 9 in the river along San Gabriel Canyon Road, near the bike trail, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith.
Clayton was recreating with friends when he fell into the water from a raft or inner tube, Azusa police officials said.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter crew hoisted the man from the river and flew him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, officials said.
Foul play was not suspected, police said. Clayton’s cause of death was yet to be determined by coroner’s investigators.
Azusa police Lt. Paul Dennis said the area where the accident occurred is private property, forbidden to the public, and unsafe for swimming or water sports due to “extremely dangerous” currents.
PASADENA >> An elderly woman continued recovering from serious burn injuries after accidentally set herself on fire while lighting a cigarette in front of a Pasadena grocery store on Thursday, police said.
The 78-year-old woman was initially hospitalized in critical condition following the apparent mishap, which took place about 4 p.m. outside of Vons in the Orangewood Center, 155 E. California Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said. An update on her condition was not available Saturday.
The woman and her husband arrived at the store in their car, the lieutenant said. The woman stayed in the car while her husband went inside to make some purchases.
While lighting a cigarette, “It appears she may have accidentally set her clothing on fire while seated in the vehicle,” Goodman said.
Witnesses noticed the fire and pulled the woman from the car before rescuers arrived, he added.
Paramedics rushed the woman to a hospital with “significant” burn injuries, Goodman said.
Police recovered a disposable cigarette lighter at the scene.
Though the incident appeared accidental, police and Pasadena fire officials still investigating, Goodman said. “There’s nothing to suggest there was any foul play.”
ALTADENA >> A 49-year-old Torrance man reported missing while mountain biking in the Angeles National Forest north of Altadena was found dead from an apparent fall Saturday following a 13-hour search, authorities said.
The man’s name was not released Sunday pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
Search and rescue teams searching for the missing man found about 10:30 a.m. Saturday along the Brown Mountain Truck Trail, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Kim Shelton said.
The body was discovered a short distance from the man’s bicycle, and showed signs of trauma consistent with taking a fall from his bike, she said. No crime was initially suspected.
Sheriff’s officials received notification from Torrance police about 9 p.m. Friday that the cell phone of a missing Torrance man had been traces to a popular hiking trailhead north of Altadena, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The missing man’s SUV was found in the parking lot of the Millard Canyon Campground, Shelton said.
Officials from the Altadena, Montrose, Sierra Madre, San Dimas, Santa Clarita and Malibu search-and-rescue teams joined in the search, along with Sheriff’s Department helicopters, according to the statement. Additional resources from the California Air National Guard were requested, however the search concluded before they joined the search.
Investigators determined the missing man had started out for a mountain bike ride Friday morning.
Although the missing person was an experienced mountain biker, he was reported to have limited supplies with him, a storm was predicted to come in and there is over 30 miles of trail to search,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
Searchers handed out fliers with pictures of the missing man and his bicycle, Shelton said.
A hiker told authorities about 10 a.m. that he had seen the bicycle pictured on the flier in a remote area about three miles up the trail, officials said.
Officials quickly located the bike.
“After further searching, a body of a male was discovered,” according to the statement. “Sheriff’s Air Rescue 5 lowered a paramedic and the person was pronounced deceased at approximately 10:30 a.m.”
The investigation is ongoing.
SOUTH PASADENA >> An 86-year-old woman died after being struck, dragged and pinned by a car driven by a 93-year-old woman in a church parking lot Saturday afternoon as both women were leaving Mass, authorities said.
Killed was Elizabeth Cherry of South Pasadena, South Pasadena police Officer Jeff Holland said.
The “tragic accident” took place about 6:10 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 1527 Fremont Ave, South Pasadena police Sgt. Jim Valencia said.
Cherry was preparing to get into her car in the parking lot when the other woman, a Pasadena resident, struck her while backing up her Jaguar XJ6, he said.
Witnesses reported hearing the Jaguar’s engine revving steadily, as if the accelerator was being depressed, before the car shifted into reverse and lurched backward and toward the right, Holland said. The Jaguar sideswiped Cherry’s Toyota Avalon and struck her.
“The 86-year-old woman was dragged underneath the vehicle for over 100 feet until the vehicle came to rest after colliding with a block wall,” South Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
Police said the elderly victim remained pinned beneath the Jaguar when first responders arrived at the scene.
Firefighters freed the badly injured woman from beneath the car and took her to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena for treatment, officials said.
The woman succumbed to her injuries at 8:20 p.m., Valencia said.
The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, Holland said. She did not appear aware she had struck a person until afterward.
Officers from the South Pasadena Police Department’s Traffic Unit are continuing their investigation, though officials noted no overt signs pointing to a crime.
PASADENA >> An elderly parking lot supervisor fought for his life at a hospital Sunday after he suffered major head injuries in a utility cart accident while working at a parking lot servicing the UCLA football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena Saturday night, officials said.
The accident took place about 11 p.m. in the parking lot of Parsons Corporation near De Lacey Avenue and Holly Street, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said. The lot was being used as a shuttle lot to provide parking for Saturday evening’s football game.
The victim, a Lancaster man in his 70s employes by LAZ Parking, was driving an electric utility cart with a coworker riding as a passenger just prior to the mishap, Mercado said.
The supervisor exited the car to pick up some debris in front of the vehicle, the lieutenant said. Simultaneously, he instructed his coworker to take the cart and use it to dispose of some trash.
As they coworker slid over from the passenger seat to the driver seat, he accidentally disengaged the emergency brake or stepped on the accelerator, Mercado said.
“The cart lunged forward and hit the victim,” he said. “He fell down and hit his head on the asphalt.”
Paramedics took the critically injured man to Huntington Hospital, where doctors rushed him into emergency surgery, police said. An update on his condition was not available Sunday afternoon.
Representatives of LAZ Parking could not be reached for comment Sunday.
ROSEMEAD >> A man suffered major injuries Wednesday when a car he was repairing fell from a jack and crushed him, officials said.
The accident took place about 9:30 a.m. in front a of a home in the 3000 block of Jackson Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Ray Garcia said.
Firefighters arrived at the scene to find sheriff’s deputies had already re-lifted the two-door BMW to free the man, estimated to be about 30 years old, the captains said.
He had suffered cuts to his head and possible crush injuries to his chest, Garcia. Paramedics took the badly injured man to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment. An update on his condition was not available Wednesday afternoon.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station were investigation the incident.
BALDWIN PARK >> A 5-year-old boy died Wednesday after being caught up and strangled in a front-yard hammock at his home, officials said.
The “horrible accident” took place about 12:40 p.m. at a home in the 4900 block of Maine Avenue, Baldwin Park police Lt. Chris Kuberry said.
The boy was out in the front yard as his mother cooked him lunch, the lieutenant said.
When the mother came outside, she found the boy entangled in the hammock and not breathing, officials said.
The mother performed CPR until two Baldwin Park police detectives who arrived at the scene and took over until paramedics arrived, Kuberry said.
Officials rushed the boy to a hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries, he said.
Nothing criminal was initially suspected in the death, which was being investigated as an accident, Kuberry said.