Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Man that drove car into gym sentenced to state prison

La Mirada News File photo 3/19/2019

A South Whittier man has been handed a nine-year state prison sentence after pleading no contest to a charge related to a March 2019 incident that involved driving a stolen vehicle into a La Mirada gym after the business revoked his membership.

Sergio Gabriel Reyes, 34, pleaded no contest Monday to a single charge of assault with a deadly weapon after the prosecutor agreed to drop four other charges including attempted murder, vehicle theft and two counts of vandalism. Reyes had faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

With time already served and good time credits Reyes will have to serve up to another 38 months before being eligible for parole.

On March 19, 2019, Reyes was arrested after he drove a stolen car through the front of Crunch Fitness at 12815 Valley View Av after the gym terminated his membership after an accusation by several women that he had been directing sexual harassment at them.

There were a handful of customers still inside the business at the time of the incident and an employee standing near the front desk narrowly escaped injury.

A witness followed Reyes to the 15200 block of Alicante Rd after spotting him run to a second vehicle that was stopped near the gym. The Toyota Corolla that Reyes fled in collided with a curb attempting to elude the following witness and was held until deputies arrived.

The vehicle that Reyes drove into the gym belonged to a relative.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Local deputies and firefighters keep busy on a noisy 4th of July

La Mirada-  Sheriff's deputies and Los Angeles County firefighters were kept busy on the night of 4th of July, and despite a noted upsurge of illegal fireworks heard around the city this year there were only a few outdoor fires blamed on their use. 

Four teams made up of a deputy, a code enforcement officer, and a public safety officer acting as a spotter made their presence know in parts of the city writing $1,000 citations for using fireworks not rated safe and sane.

A heavy sheriff's presence was noted in the Windemere Park neighborhood as well as areas along Alicante Rd and near Los Coyotes Middle School.

One of the citations was issued to a partygoer at a home on  Manzanares Rd. and Alicante Rd where about ten people were celebrating a little too much as two of the special enforcement units passed by. A resident in the area told La Mirada News that he had been seeing people run across Alicante Rd into the park a short distance followed by loud explosions that had been setting off car alarms in the area for several hours. 

A final tally for La Mirada is expected to be revealed next Tuesday during the city council study session however a tweet from Norwalk Station stated deputies at the station had written 48 citations over the four-day period ending July 4th and had confiscated 875 pounds of illegal fireworks during the same time period.

Despite a dramatic increase in the use of illegal fireworks this year,  only a few outdoor fires were blamed on their use including a spectacular Pine Tree fire at a home behind the Rosebeach Apartments at the corner of Faceta Dr and Ashgrove Av. The fire followed what witnesses described as a spectacular exhibition of illegal aerial fireworks at the large apartment complex.

Dramatic video of this fire can be found on YouTube by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/P6WOvg9AiBg

A hedge caught fire on a cul-de-sac offshoot in the 14200 block of Whiterock Dr and was extinguished by residents before the arrival of the fire department.

More coverage after each photo.

Firefighters from Engine 49 check a smoldering hedge on Whiterock Dr.

As midnight struck the action moved from fireworks-related incidents to those that were more potentially dangerous.

A White Toyota Camry registered as a rental car was traveling northbound on Figueras Rd from Rosecrans Av became flipped over on its roof near the intersection with Badlona Dr. sending one of the occupants to the hospital with minor injuries.

A short time later deputies and fire crews rushed to an occupied home that was reported on fire in the 14400 block of San Dieguito Dr. near Neff Park.

Deputies arrived within two minutes reporting that the home had been successfully evacuated. Flames were visible coming from the garage which appeared to have been undergoing some sort of work by a contractor or the homeowner.

The fire was deemed to be not related to fireworks and was quickly extinguished by firefighters from Engine 194 from the Beach Blvd. fire station. Crews from four other stations also responded to assist in the effort.

As firefighters worked to extinguish the house fire, Norwalk Station dispatchers also began receiving calls about a street takeover that was in progress at Alondra Bl and Valley View Av.

After being dispersed from intersection adjacent to the AM/PM, the crowd of about 200 gathered to shut down Valley View Av once again, this time about a half-mile to the north at Gannet St.

With many of the deputies at the fire on San Dieguito Dr and their cars trapped behind all the fire equipment stopped in the middle of the narrow residential street, a lone deputy was greeted by the takeover crowd on Valley View Av. by occupants from several escaping cars throwing M-80's at the deputy who had staked a location in the intersection to disperse the crowd with the loud explosives narrowly missing the Sheriff's SUV.

The night ended with arguably the most critical incident occurring after a deputy answering a routine fireworks complaint call encountered a car stopped on the lip of the driveway near the liquor store at Santa Gertrudes Av and La Mirada Blvd. about 2:30 a.m.
When the deputy approached the vehicle he spotted a gun and two people that had fallen asleep. After deputies had extracted the occupants at gunpoint it was determined the weapon was a so-called 'ghost gun' that is shipped to buyers in pieces and are assembled by its owners, bypassing gun background checks.

One of the suspects from the car with the 'ghost gun' is handcuffed by deputies

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Council News: New traffic signal approved and Biola Safety Chief to serve on Planning Commission

The city council approved the installation of a traffic signal at Imperial Hwy. and Burgess Ave. during its June 23rd meeting based on the results of a study performed by a traffic engineer.

The engineer's report noted that 16 accidents have been recorded at the intersection in a five-year period, six of them occurring in the final year of the study.

Councilmember Andrew Sarega voiced concerns that a signal would cause further congestion during the morning commute on Imperial and suggested restricting traffic on Burgess to right turns only and instead funnel drivers through neighborhoods to the east of Burgess Ave. towards Biola Ave. to enter or turn from Imperial Hwy.

The other four members of the council failed to support Sarega's suggestion.

Biola Campus Safety Chief and eight others named to four-year city commission terms

The council also approved the appointments of two new commissioners and reappointed seven others to new four-year terms.
John Ojeisekhoba

Biola University Associate Vice President and Chief of Campus Safety John Ojeisekhoba was appointed to the Public Safety Commission.

Chief Ojeisekhoba has received several national honors from his peers including named Campus Safety Director of the Year by Campus Safety Magazine for the many changes he made to campus security, officer training, and preparedness. Officer retention has grown by 150% since he became chief.

Ojeisekhoba's department is well-respected by local law enforcement as demonstrated by the close working relationship his officers enjoy with local deputies and investigators. Biola Campus Safety officers have peace officer status while on duty and the scope of duties and authority of its personnel are outlined in an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Sheriff's Department.

Biola currently ranks as one of the safest campuses across the nation and has received local and national acclaim for its annual earthquake and active shooter drills.

Also returning to the Public Safety Commission to four-year terms are Desiree Johnson and Mark Madison

Phillip Massey was appointed to the La Mirada Planning Commission after a nomination by the newest member of the city council Anthony Otero. Massey previously served on the  Oversight Committee that monitored Measure I sales tax expenditures as its chairman. Measure I was a one-cent sales tax that was collected for four years funding much of the infrastructure rehabilitation in residential areas across the city. 

Returning to the Planning Commission are Richard Cline and Michael Saenz, and reappointed to the Community Services Commission are Misty Cota, Steve Lee, and Susan Savage.