Hit and run ends in fatal collision *UPDATED

*The California Highway Patrol originally reported incorrect information regarding this story. It has been updated below.

From the SGV Tribune:

WEST COVINA – A man was killed in a fatal crash Monday, California Highway Patrol officials said Tuesday.

Gustavo Cesena, of West Covina, was killed about 10:30 p.m. Monday, said Officer Heather Hoglund. Cesena was not wearing his seat belt, Hoglund said.

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Joe Sanders buried in Elk Grove

From the Sacramento Bee:

California Highway Patrolman Joseph Sanders was laid to rest today, one day after the 29-year-old officer would have successfully completed his probation period.

Sanders, a Galt High School graduate, had served just 359 days as a CHP officer – his longtime goal – before he was struck and killed one week ago today while conducting traffic in heavy rain on a Los Angeles County highway.

Hundreds of family, friends and uniformed officers gathered in Elk Grove this morning to remember Sanders, who had been assigned to the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office in Southern California. Law enforcement officers from all across the state — including a large contingent from Southern California — and as far away as Texas filled the First Baptist Church to memorialize Sanders.

Sanders’ death marks the CHP’s first line-of-duty death of 2008 and the 214th in the CHP’s 79-year history.

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In memory of Joe Sanders

LayDownMyLife.com, A Web site devoted to the memories of CHP officers who have died in the line of duty, has set up a page dedicated to Joe Sanders.

On Monday, Dec. 15, Sanders was struck and killed by a vehicle while directing traffic at the scene of a previous accident on Pomona Freeway in Hacienda Heights.

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RIP Joe Sanders

This is what we now know regarding the CHP officer killed early this morning near the 60 Freeway and Azusa Avenue.

RIP Joe Sanders, 29.

A CHP officer who was killed in an early morning traffic accident on the 60 Freeway was identified as Officer Joseph Sanders, 29, officials said Monday.

Sanders leaves a pregnant wife and three children ages 7, 3, and 10 months.

Sanders was a Marine Corp veteran who fought in Fallujah.

Flags will be flown at half-staff at the state Capitol in honor of Sanders, state officials said.

“These losses are tragig and we feel them deeply,’ CHP Capt. Dan Minor said.

Minor said Sanders and his partner weere working the graveyard shift when they encountered a pickup truck that had spun out on the 60 Freeway near Azusa Avenue. While Sanders’ partner was talking to the driver, a second traffic accident occurred. A car involved in that accident struck Sanders and killed him.

Officials said speeding may have resulted int he accident. All three drivers were being questioned. No charges have been filed.

Sanders grew up in Lodi, California and served a tour of duty in Iraq before joining the CHP.

“This is our 214 officer killed in the line of duty” CHP commissioner Joe Farrow said. “What is important is that he didnt’ die in vain. It was out here doing what he was piad to do.”

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Covina accident


Jennifer McLain shot this picture at lunchtime near the intersection of Arrow Highway and Enid street in Covina/Azusa.

Apparently a car blew through the intersection about 12:30 p.m. and caused a three car accident that sent three people to the hospital with minor injuries.


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Hands-free Tuesday*


We’re halfway through hands-free Tuesday and cell phone users ignoring the new law are apparently plentiful.

I know I saw at least two people talking on the phone this a.m. on my way in. Both had something in common: both were women and both were driving slow and I was stuck behind ’em.

We’ve had reporters and photogs out in the field doing ride-alongs and they’ve seen some interesting stuff today.

KFI reporter Shannon Farren said she spotted nine people using their cell phones westbound on the 10 between downton and the 405 this morning. One was using the phone and smoking.

*As for now, I’m suffering through an extreme case of nomophobia.

Here’s the photo caption:

Here’s California Highway Patrol officer Joe Zizi from the Santa Fe Springs CHP office gives a citation to a female on Rose Hills Road in Whittier for Hands-Free Cell Phone violation on July 1, 2008.  Today is the first day the law goes into effect.  The La Habra woman, who did not want to give her name, said she had been working too long and forgot about the new law. (Raul Roa) 


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The fish wrap

Mayor’s son questioned in car theft case.

An unidentified person was detained at Mayor Ron Beilke’s home Wednesday as part of an auto theft investigation, authorities said.


Beilke said deputies questioned his 17-year-old son, who visited the same house as Sonny Costello, a 19-year-old transient, who is accused of stealing a 2002 Chevy Suburban on Tuesday night.

Monrovia plans outside investigation of claims against PD.

MONROVIA – Police Chief Roger Johnson said Wednesday that an outside agency would investigate sexual harassment allegations contained in a lawsuit filed against a Monrovia police officer.

Rudy Ramirez, 25, a former Monrovia jailer and member of the Monrovia police Explorer program, filed the lawsuit last month. He claims Sgt. Dan Verna sexually abused and harassed him beginning in 2000 while he was a minor until November 2006 when Ramirez was terminated by the department.

“Any of these allegations are going to be reviewed by a law enforcement agency independent of the Police Department to determine if there’s been any wrong-doing,” Johnson said.


To bolster claims in his lawsuit, Ramirez states that Verna helped a suspected gang member, Salvador Parra, get released from Monrovia city jail on two occasions in 2006.

Sheriff’s officials on Wednesday said a deputy saw Verna and Parra in 2006 inside of a parked car in Fish Canyon.

On patrol May 2, 2006, Deputy Mike Silva spotted the pair, authorities said. When he saw a gun in the car, the deputy detained Verna and called for backup, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Richard Shaw. 

Man shot and killed in Hacienda Heights.

Police responded to the 1100 block of Finegrove Avenue to reports of shots fired around 9:50 p.m., according to Deputy Aura Sierra of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

They found a Latino man, 30, with multiple gun shots wounds in his torso, Sierra said.

CHiPs OIS follow up; woman identified.

Two CHP officers patrolling the eastbound 10 Freeway just after 11 p.m. initially noticed the woman as she passed them in her car, driving at a high rate of speed, Dolson said.

The officers thought she might have been under the influence, so they pulled her over at Hellman and Garfield avenues, just off the freeway, Dolson said.

When one of the officers approached the vehicle, the woman pulled out the replica handgun, prompting the officer to fire one round, he said.

The fake handgun was later recovered at the scene, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Oscar Butao.

“It looked exactly like a righteous firing gun,” Dolson said. “You would probably have to handle it and examine it for a short time to realize it wasn’t real.”


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