Bicyclist Killed in Montebello Identified

March 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Authorities last week identified a bicyclist killed in Montebello in a collision with an SUV, whose driver was arrested after allegedly leaving the scene.

The crash occurred on Feb. 18 about 7:30 p.m. as the cyclist was southbound on Concourse Avenue past Allston Street. Jeffrey Corden, 35, of Los Angeles died at the scene, the coroner’s office reported March 2.

Officers learned that Corden had been rear-ended by a 2002 Ford Expedition, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The motorist sped away, but crashed into several parked vehicles a few blocks away. John F. Salvidar, 35, of Montebello, was detained by some local residents until CHP officers arrived at the scene and arrested him.

Neither alcohol nor drugs were factors in the crash, the CHP reported.

The CHP’s East Los Angeles area office asked anyone who saw the crash to call (323) 980-4600.

Demand for Justice In Montebello Hit-and-Run

July 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

At first they were shocked, than they grew angry.

How could someone just drive away after fatally hitting 24-year-old Steven Garcia as he rode his bike in Montebello, family, friends and concerned neighbors wanted to know.

“Someone had to have seen something, Whittier Boulevard is a heavily traveled street,” said Steven’s father, Oscar Garcia.

On the eve of Steven’s burial, nine speakers, most of them family and friends, took the podium during the Montebello City Council meeting. They were there to ask for justice for Steven. Speaker after speaker urged the board to approve a reward to help find the hit-and-run driver responsible for ending his life.

Steven Garcia, 24, was killed by a hit-and-run driver while ridding his bike in Montebello on July 8. (Facebook)

Steven Garcia, 24, was killed by a hit-and-run driver while ridding his bike in Montebello on July 8. (Facebook)

“Steven was my brother, he didn’t deserve to die like this,” said a tearful and shaken Oscar Garcia-Vasquez. “I watched him die … and for the person responsible to be out there like nothing happened, it’s an injustice.”

The council unanimously approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the hit and run accident.

“Unfortunately, it takes reward money for [witnesses] to come forward,” Mayor Jack Hadjinian said during the meeting.

“If we can make a difference, this is how we can,” said Councilwoman Christina Cortez before the vote.

According to Montebello police, Steven was riding his bike down Bluff Road near the intersection of Whittier Boulevard on July 8 when an unidentified vehicle struck him. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene without stopping or rendering assistance to the victim, police said. Officers were dispatched to the scene at 9:57 p.m. that night; Steven was still alive.

He was transported to Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center but died two days later.

As of Wednesday, the only information police have is from a nearby surveillance camera, which has led them to think the vehicle involved may be a white Ford truck. It is not clear whether the vehicle ran a red light or if the driver was under the influence.

Garcia told EGP his son was at his home in Whittier just hours before he was killed. He said they talked about buying car for Steven, who lived in Montebello.

“His bicycle was his form of transportation,” the distraught father said in Spanish. “I wanted to buy him a car because I feared something would happen to him … and it did.”

After returning home that evening, Steven decided to ride his bike to buy food, Garcia told EGP. That’s when he was hit.

A small shrine was placed near the location where 24-year old Steven Garcia was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Montebello on July 8. (Courtesy of Ghost Bike Foundation)

A small shrine was placed near the location where 24-year old Steven Garcia was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Montebello on July 8. (Courtesy of Ghost Bike Foundation)

Jose Vasquez, Steven’s uncle and a business owner in the city, asked the police department to go a step further and hold a press conference to bring more attention to the reward. He hopes that it will motivate someone with information to come forward.

“We must make it clear that hit-and-runs will not be tolerated in our city,” he said. “Two weeks ago it was my nephew, we can’t wait around to see who will be next.”

Steven’s tragic death has sparked concern about the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists on Montebello streets.

“I am concerned for the safety of all of the residents in our city,” said Celeste Vasquez, Steven’s cousin.

His niece, Alisa Ayala, said she’s narrowly missed being hit by a car while crossing the street and riding her bike.

“I don’t want anybody else to be a victim.”

Alex Rodriguez is not a family member but spoke in support of the reward.

“I’m tired of seeing how often these things happen,” he said. “We need to let others know that the city of Montebello will not let criminals get away with anything.”

He reasoned that the driver of the vehicle might have fled because he or she did not have insurance or a driver’s license, but said all those excuses are “unacceptable and inexcusable.”

“I’ve notice it’s become more and more dangerous to cross the street,” said Rodriguez’s daughter Michelle.

Hit-and-runs in the city have increased, echoed Gloria Gallegos. “I’m a parent too and I’m concerned,” she told the council. “Please put a stop to this”

According to police, bicycle and pedestrian fatalities are rising all across the state. In the last three years alone, Montebello police have investigated 212 fatal and injury collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists.

On Saturday, the police department conducted a bicyclist and pedestrian safety enforcement campaign throughout the city.

Councilmembers Cortez and Bill Molinari asked for the reward to be placed on the agenda and for city staff to look into what size reward is customary in these situations.

Police Chief Kevin McClure told the council that most cities have policies regarding the issuing of rewards, however, City Attorney Arnold Glassman said there is no such policy in Montebello.

Glassman said he and the city clerk looked at past rewards issued and determined $10,000 was standard.

Hadjinian said he and Councilwoman Vivian Romero contacted Los Angeles County officials to ask for additional funds but were not successful.

Romero instead urged local businesses and residents to contribute to the reward fund.

“A reward will do nothing to bring back his life, but hopefully it will bring justice to the situation,” said Mayor Pro Tem Art Barajas.

Sometimes people with information wait to come forward because they know a reward is around the corner, said Steven’s father, who hopes the driver will just turn his or herself into police.

Steven would have turned 25 on Aug. 23.

“My son’s death can’t be just another statistic. this cannot end like this.”

Demandan Justicia Ante Conductor que Se Dio a la Fuga en Montebello

July 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Al principio, estaban sorprendidos, después enojados.

¿Cómo podría alguien continuar manejando su vehículo después de golpear fatalmente a Steven García de 24 años, mientras iba en su bicicleta en Montebello? familia, amigos y vecinos preocupados querían saber.

“Alguien tenía que haber visto algo, Whittier Boulevard es una calle con mucho tráfico”, dijo el padre de Steven, Oscar García.

Read this article in English: Demand for Justice In Montebello Hit-and-Run 

En la víspera del entierro de Steven, nueve oradores, la mayoría de ellos familiares y amigos, tomaron el podio durante la reunión del Consejo de la Ciudad de Montebello. Estaban allí para pedir justicia para Steven. Orador tras orador instó a la Junta para aprobar una recompensa para ayudar a encontrar el conductor que escapó y es responsable de acabar con su vida.

La investigación que continua por parte del Departamento de Policía de Montebello no ha encontrado ninguna pista.

“Steven era mi hermano, él no merecía morir así”, dijo entre lágrimas y muy afectado Oscar García-Vásquez. “Lo vi morir … y para la persona responsable que esta por ahí como si nada, es una injusticia”.

El Consejo aprobó por unanimidad una recompensa de $10,000 dólares por información que conduzca al arresto y condena de cualquier persona involucrada en el accidente de atropello y fuga.

“Desafortunadamente, se necesita dinero para recompensar [a testigos] para presentarse”, dijo el alcalde Jack Hadjinian durante la reunión.

“Si podemos hacer una diferencia, de esta es la forma como lo haremos”, dijo la concejal Christina Cortez antes de la votación.

Según la policía de Montebello, Steven iba en su bicicleta sobre Bluff Road, cerca de la intersección de Whittier Boulevard, el 8 de julio, cuando un vehículo no identificado le pegó. El conductor del vehículo huyó de la escena sin parar o prestar asistencia a la víctima, dijo la policía. Los oficiales fueron enviados a la escena a las 9:57pm de esa misma noche; Steven aún estaba vivo.

Fue trasladado al hospital del condado de Los Ángeles /USC Medical Center, pero murió dos días después.

Steven García, 24, fue muerto por un conductor que inmediatamente se dio a la fuga después de atropellarlo en Montebello el 8 de julio. (Facebook)

Steven García, 24, fue muerto por un conductor que inmediatamente se dio a la fuga después de atropellarlo en Montebello el 8 de julio. (Facebook)

Hasta el miércoles, la única información que la policía tiene es de una cámara de vigilancia en las inmediaciones, lo que les había llevado a pensar que el vehículo involucrado puede ser una camioneta blanca Ford. No está claro si el vehículo se saltó un semáforo en rojo o si el conductor estaba bajo la influencia de alguna sustancia.

García le dijo a EGP que él estaba con su hijo en su casa en Whittier apenas unas horas antes de ser asesinado. Dijo que sólo habían hablado sobre la compra de un auto para su hijo, quien vivía en Montebello.

“Su bicicleta era su forma de transporte”, dijo el padre angustiado. “Quería comprarle un auto porque temía que algo le fuera a pasar… y así fue”.

Después de regresar a casa esa noche, Steven decidió tomar un último paseo en bicicleta para ir a comprar comida, García le dijo a EGP. Es cuando fue golpeado.

José Vásquez, el tío de Steven y propietario de un negocio en la ciudad, le pidió al departamento de policía ir un paso más allá y pidió que ofrezcan una conferencia de prensa para darle más atención a la recompensa. Tiene la esperanza de que va a motivar a alguien a presentarse con la información.

“Hay que dejar claro que los atropellos y fugas no serán tolerados en nuestra ciudad”, dijo. “Hace dos semanas fue mi sobrino, no podemos esperar para ver quién será el próximo.”

La trágica muerte de Steven ha despertado preocupación por la seguridad de los peatones y ciclistas en las calles de Montebello.

“Estoy preocupado por la seguridad de todos los residentes en nuestra ciudad”, dijo Celeste Vásquez, prima de Steven.

Su sobrina, Alisa Ayala, dijo que en una ocasión ella estuvo a punto de ser golpeada por un carro mientras cruzaba la calle en su bicicleta.

“Yo no quiero que nadie más sea una víctima”.

Alex Rodríguez no es un miembro de la familia, pero se pronunció a favor de la recompensa.

“Estoy cansado de ver con qué frecuencia ocurren estas cosas”, dijo. “Necesitamos que los demás sepan que la ciudad de Montebello no permitirá que los delincuentes se salgan con la suya”.

Dijo que el conductor del vehículo podría haber huido porque él o ella no tienen seguro o una licencia de conducir, pero dijo que todos esos pretextos son “inaceptables e inexcusables”.

De acuerdo a la policía, fatalidades de ciclistas y peatones están aumentando en todo el estado. En los últimos tres años, la policía de Montebello ha investigado 212 colisiones fatales y lesiones que involucran a peatones y ciclistas.

El sábado, el departamento de policía llevó a cabo una campaña de aplicación de la seguridad de los peatones y ciclistas por toda la ciudad.

Los concejales Cortez y Bill Molinari pidieron que la recompensa que se coloque en la agenda .

Hadjinian dijo que él y la concejal Vivian Romero contactaron a funcionarios del condado de Los Ángeles para pedir fondos adicionales, pero no tuvieron éxito.

Romero instó a las empresas y los residentes locales para contribuir al fondo de recompensa.

“Una recompensa no hará nada para regresarle la vida, pero espero que se haga justicia a la situación”, dijo el alcalde Pro Tem Art Barajas.

A veces las personas con información esperan a presentarse porque saben que habrá una recompensa a la vuelta de la esquina, dijo el padre de Steven, quien espera que el conductor o conductora se entregue a la policía.

Steven habría cumplido 25 años el 23 de agosto.

“La muerte de mi hijo no puede ser sólo una estadística más. Esto no puede terminar así”.


Twitter @nancyreporting


Montebello PD Searching for Hit and Run Driver

July 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Montebello police Monday appealed to the public for help in finding a hit-and-run driver who collided with a bicyclist, who died of his injuries two days later.

The collision occurred shortly before 10 p.m. last Wednesday. Police found the bicyclist near the north curb line of Whittier Boulevard, west of Bluff Road, but the motorist had fled.

Steven Garcia, 24, of Montebello, was taken to County-USC Medical Center, where he died on Friday.

Police said the suspect vehicle was believed to be a Ford truck and asked anyone with information to call investigators at (323) 887-1212, ext. 353 or 337.

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