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Category: Accident

Couple allegedly killed by teen driver identified

Memorial
The Orange County coroner’s office late Tuesday released the names of an Irvine couple who police say were struck and killed by a teenage driver on his way to school.

Sharon Crowell, 61, and her husband, Richard Crowell, 65, were walking on Eastwood near the Venta Spur trail in Irvine about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, when a Honda veered off the residential street and plowed into the couple, police said.

The driver of the car, a 17-year-old boy who was on his way to school, was not hurt, and has been cooperating with investigators, said Irvine police Lt. Julia Engen. His name has not been released because of his age.

Coroner's officials said the cause of death for the Crowells has not been determined, pending autopsies.

Sharon Crowell, who authorities say was caught up in debris and uprooted shrubs in the crash, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Richard Crowell was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

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-- Christine Mai-Duc

Photo: Neighbors visit the site at Eastwood and Venta Spur Trail in Irvine where  Sharon Crowell, 61, and her husband Richard  Crowell, 65, were killed by a 17-year-old driver while walking on the sidewalk. Credit: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times

Two pedestrians killed by teen driver in Irvine, police say

A man and woman in their 60s were struck and killed Tuesday by a teenage driver as they walked in an Irvine neighborhood, police said.

According to authorities, the Honda driven by the boy veered off the residential street and struck the couple. The names of the 65-year-old man and 61-year-old woman, both Irvine residents, have not been released pending notification of relatives. Officials believe they lived near the scene of the accident.

The two were walking on the east side of Eastwood north of Bryan Avenue about 7:30 a.m. when the car jumped the curb, striking the couple and uprooting shrubs and hedges in the process, said Irvine police Lt. Julia Engen. The vehicle finally came to rest at the base of a tree and retaining wall, she said.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The man was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana. 

The driver, a 17-year-old on his way to school, was not hurt, said police, and cooperated with authorities. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

A portion of the street was closed for more than nine hours as police investigated the crash and removed the wreckage.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Irvine police Sgt. Matt August at (949) 724-7023.

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5-car pileup snarls traffic on westbound 210 Freeway in Sylmar

Traffic was snarled in this area after an accident on the 210 Freeway in Sylmar.

This post has been updated. See note below for details.

Traffic on the westbound 210 Freeway near the 5 Freeway in Sylmar was snarled Monday night after five vehicles collided, officials said.

The accident involved a big rig, an SUV and a Prius and caused a heavy backup, according to initial reports by California Highway Patrol officers at the scene. The incident was reported about 7 p.m.

Firefighters responded, but it was not immediately clear how many people may have been injured.

At least two lanes on the busy freeway were closed. It was unclear when they would be reopened.

[Updated 7:59 p.m.: Four patients were taken to hospitals, and traffic was beginning to move, the LAFD said.]

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— Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Map shows area where the accident was reported. Credit: Google Maps

Pickup truck hits 5 pedestrians on downtown sidewalk, killing one

Candle
Several pedestrians were recuperating Monday and another was dead after being hit by a truck that then crashed into a downtown Los Angeles restaurant.

The pickup was heading south on Broadway and had just crossed 4th Street when it ran into five pedestrians who were standing on the sidewalk. One of the pedestrians, a 52-year-old woman, died at the scene.

The other four victims, all between 41 and 72 years old, were taken to local hospitals in serious condition, said Officer Alex Martinez. Two others also suffered minor injuries.

The Chevrolet Avalanche then crashed through a window at Casa India Restaurant at 348 S. Broadway. The structural integrity of the building was not compromised, police said.

It was not immediately clear whether the driver was injured in the crash or was arrested. Police from the Central Community Police Station and Central Traffic Division were investigating.

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-- Joseph Serna

Photo: Prayer candles stand at the site where a woman waiting for a bus was killed and several other pedestrians hurt after a truck crashed into a downtown Los Angeles restaurant on Broadway Street  just north of 4th Street. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times


Truck crashes into downtown building, killing 1, injuring others [Updated]

A pickup truck crashed into a downtown Los Angeles storefront Sunday, killing one person and injuring several others, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The vehicle struck the building near Broadway and 4th streets at about 2 p.m., LAFD spokesman Erik Scott said. No other information was known about the victims.

[Updated at 3:10 p.m.: A 52-year-old woman was killed and four victims were transported to hospitals in serious condition, according to Scott. Two other victims were also transported but suffered minor injuries. All of the victims were ages 30-70. The truck went partially through a business window at 348 S. Broadway, the address of Casa India Restaurant, whose sign said it sells Mexican and Salvadorean food. The structural integrity of the building was not compromised, Scott said.]

“Most of these accidents start off with a few patients and end up growing so we just have to wait and see and let everyone do their job,” Scott said.

Los Angeles police from the Central Community Police Station and the Central Traffic Division responded to the incident.

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Death during sailboat race leaves yacht club in mourning

A San Diego man died over the weekend during a sailing race co-sponsored by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, officials said.

Craig Thomas Williams, 36, was one of six crew members aboard the Uncontrollable Urge, a 32-foot vessel participating in the fourth annual Islands Race that began Friday in Long Beach and ended Saturday in San Diego.

The sailboat had issued a mayday call around 9 p.m. Friday as its rudder failed and the craft drifted toward the rocky shoreline of San Clemente Island. Initially the sailors turned down a rescue attempt by the Coast Guard or other boats in the race, but as waves pushed the craft closer to the island, the sailors were forced to abandon ship.

Williams was found unresponsive in the water by Coast Guard rescue personnel. "He was recovered from the water and death was confirmed without medical intervention," the San Diego County medical examiner said.

Five other crew members were rescued. The survivors were hoisted aboard the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter which had been dispatched from the Coast Guard's San Diego station.

Coast Guard officials said the Uncontrollable Urge was in small-craft advisory weather containing 8-foot swells and 10-knot winds.

The Islands Race route is 139 nautical miles and rounds both San Clemente and Catalina islands. The San Diego Yacht Club co-sponsors the race with the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.

The Uncontrollable Urge, owned and skippered by James Gilmore, was from the Silver Gate Yacht Club in San Diego, according to the San Diego Yacht Club's website.

Continue reading »

San Diego man killed in sailboat accident off San Clemente Island

Craig Thomas Williams, 36, of San Diego, was killed in the crash of a 32-foot sailboat onto the rocky shoreline of San Clemente Island, the San Diego County medical examiner said Saturday.

Williams was found unresponsive in the water by Coast Guard rescue personnel. "He was recovered from the water and death was confirmed without medical intervention," the medical examiner said.

Four other crew members were rescued. Their boat, the Uncontrollable Urge, was taking part in the Islands Race hosted by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club.

The sailboat had issued a mayday call about 9:30 p.m. Friday as the boat's rudder failed and the craft began drifting toward the rocky shore of the island. Initially the sailors declined assistance from the Coast Guard and other boaters.

But about 11 p.m., as the sailors attempted to anchor the vessel, its anchor would not catch, and the vessel drifted even closer to shore. The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from San Diego and the cutter Edisto was diverted to the scene.

Finally, the sailboat entered the surf line and was broken apart by waves, forcing the crew to abandon the vessel. Six sailors were hoisted into the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and taken to a hospital, where one man was pronounced dead, the Coast Guard said.

The accident occurred amid 8-foot swells and 10-knot winds.

--Tony Perry in San Diego

SUV passenger killed, driver injured in crash on 134 Freeway

A woman was killed and a man was injured early Saturday when their sport utility vehicle flipped over on the 134 Freeway in Glendale and crashed into a tree, authorities said.

The accident occurred about 2:15 a.m. and closed the westbound Pacific Avenue exit ramp for two hours, California Highway Patrol Officer Cheyenne Quesada said.

The 45-year-old woman was a passenger in the vehicle. The driver, also 45, was transported to County/USC Medical Center, Quesada said. Neither was identified.

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One dead, five rescued in San Clemente Island sailboat accident

One person is dead and five others were rescued after a sailboat accident at San Clemente Island during a sailing contest called the Islands Race, the Coast Guard said Saturday.

The 30-foot sailboat Uncontrollable Urge issued a mayday call about 9:30 p.m. Friday as the boat's rudder failed and the craft began drifting toward the rocky shore of the island. Initially the sailors declined assistance from the Coast Guard and other boaters.

But about 11 p.m., as the sailors attempted to anchor the vessel, its anchor would not catch and the vessel drifted even closer to shore. The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from San Diego and the cutter Edisto was diverted to the scene.

Finally, the sailboat entered the surf line and was broken apart by waves, forcing the crew to abandon the vessel. Six sailors were hoisted into the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and taken to a hospital where one man was pronounced dead, the Coast Guard said.

The accident occurred amid eight-foot swells and 10-knot winds.

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-- Tony Perry in San  Diego

Video credit: U.S. Coast Guard

Lion attack: Letting anyone in cage was 'irresponsible,' official says

Officer at the gate of Cat Haven, where a woman was killed by a lion.
As authorities investigate how a lion killed a woman inside an enclosure at a Fresno County animal park, an official with the Humane Society of the United States said it was "completely irresponsible" to allow anyone in a cage with a dangerous animal.

There were only two volunteers, both women in their 20s, at the 93-acre Project Survival Cat Haven when one of the women was attacked by the 4-year-old African lion shortly before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, officials said.

Few details about what happened before the attack were released, including why the two volunteers were left unsupervised with the lions, bobcats and other dangerous animals at the park.

“These animals are ticking time bombs waiting to explode,” said Nicole Paquette,  vice president of wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States. “It’s completely irresponsible to allow someone to go into the enclosure with a dangerous wild animal.”

Friends of workers said volunteers fed the cats about noon. The usual method is to go into a small enclosure, leave the food, get out, then let the lions inside from a larger enclosure. According to the sanctuary’s guideline, caregivers should never be inside  with the animals.

Dale Anderson, a former commercial pilot who founded the park in the 1990s, came outside the gates to read a statement to reporters who had gathered at the facility.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family at this time,” Anderson said, choking up. “We'll keep you posted as things progress around here.”

When officers arrived, the remaining volunteer had repeatedly tried to coax Cous Cous – a 4-year-old male African lion, – into another enclosure, away from the victim.

Police shot the lion before rushing to the injured woman, according to officials with the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.  They did not say whether the woman was in the larger enclosure or the feeding area.

Fresno County Emergency Medical Services received a call about 12:32 p.m. to respond to Cat Haven, but the call was canceled at 12:52 because the young woman had died, officials said. Her name was not released.

A young man visiting from Italy, the boyfriend of the volunteer who found the victim, came to the park but was not allowed inside.

“I always worried about her working with lions and jaguars and bobcats” he said. “But they were always very careful. She must be in shock. I just want to go to her.”

Cat Haven is nonprofit organization that provides shelter for "large wild feline cats," helps create educational opportunities for elementary schools and funds conservation efforts, according to its most recent tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

Janice Mackey, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman, said the department had taken custody of the lion's body and will assist the Fresno County Sheriff's Department with its investigation.

The park is licensed through the state and everything was in order, Mackey said, adding that the state agency was unaware of any previous problems.

Paquette said the tragedy underscores the need for more stringent guidelines regulating how workers interact with dangerous animals.

“The Department of Fish and Wildlife needs to take a hard look at its existing regulations,” she told The Times.

The facility is also regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has conducted at least five routine inspections of the site since October 2011, according to records reviewed by The Times. The inspection reports show that the park was found to be in compliance with federal regulations.

Cous Cous had been raised by hand at the park since he was 8 weeks old, said Project Survival spokeswoman Tanya Osegueda.

“It's so tragic all the way around,” she said.

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— Robert J. Lopez in Los Angeles and Diana Marcum in Fresno County

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: An officer guards the gate near at the entrance of Cat Haven. Credit: Gosia Wozniacka/Associated Press
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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