ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> A man died after his vehicle plummeted about 700 feet over the side of Angeles Crest Highway in the forest just north of La Canada Flintridge, authorities said.
The crash was first reported by witnesses just before 9 p.m. between mile markers 25 and 27 of Angeles Crest Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and Montrose Search and Rescue Team officials said.
Members of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team were summoned to access the remote crash site, according to sheriff’s Lt. DeMarkus Smith.
They worked through the night and recovered the body Thursday morning, MSAR team officials said via Twitter.
The driver was believed to have been the only person inside the vehicle, which was transformed into an unrecognizable mass of twisted metal by the force of the crash, officials said. He was intially descirbed only as male pending positive identification and notification of family members by coroner’s officials.
No other cars were believed to have been involved in the crash.
The investigation into the cause and circumstances of the crash is being carried out by deputies from the sheriff’s Crescenta Valley Station.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
WEST COVINA >> Authorities have released the identity of a La Puente man who died in a three-car crash in West Covina last weekend.
Michael Moses Saavedra, 50, died shortly after the 11:55 a.m. crash on May 13 at Lark Ellen and Puente avenues, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
He was at the wheel of a 1960s-model Chevrolet Impala that was believed to have run through a red light and crashed into two other cars, according to West Covina police Lt. Ron Allen.
Saavedra had to be cut free from the wreckage by firefighters, he said. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A man driving one of the vehicles struck by the Impala was treated for significant injuries, while a woman and child riding as passenger in that car suffered injuries described as minor, Allen said. The driver of the second car struck by the Impala suffered minor injuries.
The Impala was southbound on Lark Ellen avenue when it passed through a red light at Puente Avenue, Allen said.
Though the first vehicle struck by the Impala was initially described by police as being in the left-turn lane from southbound Lark Ellen avenue to Puente Avenue, it was later determined the car was struck broadside while traveling on Puente Avenue, Allen said. The Impala then continued moving and struck a second car, which was in the left-turn lane from northbound Lark Ellen Avenue to Puente Avenue.
Police suspected Saavedra may have been driving under the influence at the time of the crash, Allen said.
WEST COVINA >> A man died and two other people suffered injuries in a three-vehicle crash in West Covina on Saturday, officials said.
The collision occurred about 11:55 a.m. at Lark Ellen and Puente avenues, West Covina police Lt. Ron Allen said.
Initial investigation indicated 1960s-model Chevrolet Impala heading south in Lark Ellen Avenue clipped another car in the southbound left-turn lane before careening through a red light and slamming into a second car in the northbound left-turn lane, the lieutenant said.
Witnesses who called 911 to report the crash relayed that one of the vehicles was on fire, he said.
Firefighters had to cut the driver of the Impala free from the wreckage, Allen said. He soon succumbed to injuries suffered in the crash.
The driver of one of the cars struck by the Impala was hospitalized with major injuries, but was expected to survive, police said.
The driver of the car that was clipped by the Impala suffered apparently minor injuries.
George Steward II, and his girlfriend Sabrina Castillo, 18, of Hacienda Heights. (Courtesy)
HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A judge sentenced a man to probation and community service Wednesday for causing a crash that killed two 18-year-old high school sweethearts in their hometown of Hacienda Heights, officials said.
Key Jaison Kim, 69, pleaded “no contest” to two misdemeanor charges of vehicular manslaughter in connection with the Oct. 18, 2015, crash at the 7th Street offramp of the eastbound 60 Freeway, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. California Highway Patrol officials described Kim as a Hacienda Heights resident.
Killed were George Andrew Steward II and Sabrina Delilha Castillo, who had recently graduated Los Altos High School, were had just started college, and were described by family members as “madly in love.”
Wednesday’s court proceeding in the El Monte branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court was an “open plea,” Ardalani said in a written statement. The prosecution did not negotiate a sentence with the defense before Kim entered his “no contest” plea.
In addition to five years of summary probation, “Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Donna Hollingsworth also ordered the defendant to complete 800 hours of community service, attend the hospital and morgue program and complete the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Program.,” Ardalani said. Furthermore, Kim’s driver’s license was revoked for five years.
Kim was exiting the freeway about 7 p.m. when he lost control of his Lexus sedan, which flew off the side of the onramp and smashed into the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck which Steward was driving on 7th Avenue, with Castillo riding as a passenger. The top of the truck was sheared off by the impact.
Paramedics pronounced Steward and Castillo dead at the scene.
Kim was driving at “an extremely high rate of speed” and failed to stop at a stop sign just before the crash, California Highway Patrol officials said shortly after the crash.
Driving under the influence was not alleged.
“According to the prosecutor, the defendant committed pedal error by applying pressure on the accelerator pedal instead of the brakes while exiting the offramp.” Ardalani said.
Following a lengthy investigation by the CHP, Kim was charged with two counts of manslaughter in August of 2016, nearly 10 months after the deadly collision.
Loved ones said the young couple had a promising future.
Steward had been studying and playing football at Mt. SAC in Walnut, and Castillo was studying at Citrus College in Glendora.
LA PUENTE >> A minivan smashed through the front door of a La Puente juice shop on Thursday, causing significant damage but resulting in no injuries, authorities said.
The incident took place about 2 p.m. at Rio’s Water & Juice, 16012 Main Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said.
A woman in her 30’s was parking when her Toyota Sienna minivan lurched forward, through the plate glass windows of the business, he said.
“It appears that she inadvertently accelerated instead of stepping on the break and drove through the front windows,” Cacheiro said.
The driver was unhurt, he said. An employee was inside the store at the time, but was standing toward the back of the business and also suffered no injuries.
It did not initially appear the building had sustained structural damage, however a city engineer was summoned to inspect it, the lieutenant said.
Officials initially estimated the dollar-value of the damage at $40,000.
DIAMOND BAR >> A 21-year-old Diamond Bar man died late Friday in a violent solo-vehicle crash that ripped his car into several pieces, authorities said.
Jonathan Peter Strudwick was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which took place about 10:40 p.m. on Grand Avenue near Longview Drive, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
He was driving west at a high rate of speed when his car left the roadway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Bruce Yuell said.
The 2004 Honda struck a light pole and broke into at least three pieces. The front end of the car separated from the rear, and the vehicle’s engine ended up lying in the street.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, though speed was clearly a factor, Yuell said. “It was a high speed crash.”
Strudwick was alone in the car.
Strudwick’s Facebook page indicated he attended Diamond Bar High School and Mt. San Antonio College. The page is largely dominated by photos of downhill skateboarding.
Anyone with information on the crash can reach the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station at 626-913-1715.
DIAMOND BAR >> A man died early Friday in a crash between a pickup truck and a car on the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar, authorities said.
The fatal crash was first reported at 5:48 in the carpool lane of the westbound 60 Freeway, just west of Grand Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said.
Paramedics pronounced the driver of the car, 33-year-old Rodolfo Enrique Fuentes III, dead at the scene, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Fuentes’ wife, a woman also in her 30s, was taken to a hospital with apparently minor injuries, authorities said.
The driver of the truck, described by the CHP as a 57-year-old Hesperia man, as well as a 32-year-old man riding as a passenger, suffered minor injuries but declined to be taken to hospitals, officials said.
Coroner’s records indicated the car was rear-ended by the pickup truck at high speed, Winter said.
The 1997 Ford F-150 pickup truck was traveling at about 65 mph when it crashed into the rear of Fuentes’ 2007 Honda Civic, which was traveling ahead at a slower speed, CHP officials said in a written statement.
“The cause of the collision is not yet determined, however, the front of the F-150 collided with the right rear of the Honda,” according to the statement. “The force of the impact caused serious injuries to Mr. (Fuentes).”
The carpool lanes along the westbound 60 Freeway were shut down for about three hours as authorities investigated the scene and cleared the wreckage.
The deadly crash is being investigated by the CHP’s Baldwin Park-area office. Anyone with information can reach the office at 626-338-1164.
NORWALK >> A driver died and his passenger was critically injured when a sedan slammed into a building in Norwalk early Saturday, authorities said.
The crash took place about 1 a.m. at Funston Street and Front Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Daniel Gillespie said.
A man in his early-20s was at the wheel of a 2002 BMW 540i when he lost control while rounding a curve along northbound Funston Street, just south of Front Street, and veered to the left, according to the lieutenant.
The car slammed into the side of a building formerly used as a Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States post, officials said.
Paramedics pronounced the driver dead at the scene, Gillespie said.
His identity was not available Saturday afternoon. Los Angeles County coroner’s officials had not record the death, coroner’s Lt. David Smith said.
The passenger, also described as a man in his early-20s, was hospitalized in critical condition, Gillespie said.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711.
LOS ANGELES >> A Pasadena man is accused of drunken driving in connection with a crash that killed a 4-month-old girl and injured a 10-year-old boy and a woman on the 110 Freeway in Elysian Park late Saturday, officials said.
Jared Silvestri, 26, was under the influence of alcohol during the 6:37 p.m. crash on the northbound 110 Freeway, just south of the 5 Freeway, California Highway Patrol Officer K. Herrera said in a written statement.
He was at the wheel of a 2001 Chevrolet when it slammed into the rear of a 2006 Chrysler that was slowing and pulling over to the right shoulder, officials said.
A 48-year-old La Crescenta woman, a 4-month-old Carson girl and a 10-year-old La Crescenta boy inside the Chrysler were all hospitalized with injuries, CHP Officer Stefan Brandt said.
The infant girl, who was initially listed in critical condition, was in cardiac arrest while rushed to the hospital, where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries, Brandt said.
The woman driving the Chrysler and the boy riding as a passenger suffered injuries describes as “moderate,” Herrera said.
The Chrysler had pulled halfway on to the right shoulder when it was struck from behind by Silvestri’s car ‘at a high rate of speed,” according to Herrera.
Following the initial impact, both vehicles careened out-of-control and struck another 2001 Chevrolet before coming to a rest, officials said. The driver of the third vehicle was not hurt.
“(Silvestri) was determined to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, and the proximate cause of this collisions, and was subsequently arrested,” Herrera said.
The suspect was treated for minor injuries before being booked into jail, officials said.
Following the death of the child, Silvestri may see a pending charge of DUI causing injury upgraded to a more serious crime, such as vehicular manslaughter.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Silvestri was being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Division pending his initial court appearance.
PASADENA >> Police are seeking the driver of a stolen Tesla who struck and killed a 60-year-old Pasadena man as he rode his motorcycle late Thursday.
Oscar Gary Chavez, 60, died following the 11:43 p.m. collision at Marengo Avenue and Washington Boulevard, according Los Angeles County coroner and Pasadena police officials.
He was riding his motorcycle through the intersection in an undetermined direction when he was struck by a 2015 Tesla heading north on Marengo Avenue “at a high rate of speed,” Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
Chavez was thrown from his motorcycle in the collision, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
Paramedics pronounced Chavez dead at the scene at 11:49 p.m., said Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
“The driver of the Tesla abandoned the vehicle at the scene and fled on foot,” according to the statement. The search for the driver continued Friday.
Police soon determined the Tesla had been stolen in Pasadena within hours of the fatal collision, Goodman said.
The owner of the high-performance electric vehicle was not aware it had been stolen until police notified him it had been involved in a crash, Goodman said.
“We are actively seeking the identity of the driver of that vehicle. We are seeking the public’s assistance in trying to solve this crime,” Goodman said.
A detailed suspect description was not available.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Pasadena police Lt. Diego Torres at 626-744-7159, or the on-duty watch commander at 626-744-4620. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.