News Briefs


Deputy sees son's stolen minibike up for sale

A minibike for sale at an intersection looked familiar to a Fresno County sheriff's deputy -- and for good reason: It was his son's stolen bike.

The unidentified off-duty deputy was driving in the area of Shields and Maple avenues just after 11 a.m. Sunday. While stopped at the intersection, he noticed an orange minibike and trailer that appeared to be for sale, the Sheriff's Department said.

Realizing that the bike was the same one stolen from his home, the deputy returned home to drop off his son, called the Sheriff's Department and returned to the intersection.

Before deputies could get to the scene, a man got on the minibike and rode north on Maple. Shortly afterward, the bike stalled. The deputy detained the man until other deputies arrived.

The suspect, Sidney Bowen, 42, of Fresno was booked into Fresno County jail on suspicion of possessing stolen property.

Teen sought in lake blast

The Madera County Sheriff's Department is looking for a teenage boy who tossed a plastic soda bottle filled with dry ice into Bass Lake on Saturday. The bottle exploded and nearly severed the thumb of a 12-year-old boy.

The 12-year-old was playing in the Falls Beach area with his family when he saw someone throw the plastic bottle in the lake about 5 p.m., the Sheriff's Department said. Not wanting to leave the litter in the water, he grabbed the bottle and it exploded, sheriff's spokeswoman Erica Stuart said.

The boy was treated at Community Medical Center in Oakhurst.

The person who tossed the dry ice device into the water was described by witnesses as a white male about 15 years old with nearly shoulder-length brown hair, Stuart said.

The Sheriff's Department is asking anyone with information about the incident to call (559) 675-7770 or (800) 560-4911.

Suspect in 1994 fatal hit-and-run is arrested

A man sought in the hit-and- run death of a Madera farmer 14 years ago is in custody in Oregon.

Gino Sciacqua, 72, was killed in June 1994 when the tractor he was driving in the early morning on rural Road 24 near Avenue 71/2 was struck by another vehicle. The driver of the second vehicle fled.

Renato Emilio Tejerano, 38, was pulled over Saturday by police in Aurora, Ore., after he failed to stop at a crosswalk in a pedestrian safety operation, Aurora police said.

Tejerano first gave officers another name, but it was determined that he was Tejerano, who is sought in the Madera death. The Madera District Attorney's Office will seek to extradite him on vehicular homicide charges.

Girl, 3, injured in crash

A 3-year-old girl is in the hospital with major injuries after being ejected from a car driven by her mother, who is now in a Merced County jail on suspicion of drunken driving.

California Highway Patrol investigators said the girl was sitting in a car seat but was not properly restrained.

According to CHP investigators, the accident happened about 6:30 p.m. Sunday near Snelling off Merced Falls Road, east of La Grange Road. The driver, Stephanie Palomares, 21, of Modesto, lost control of her 2003 Mitsubishi Gallant, according to Shane Ferriera, CHP spokesman. The vehicle hit two trees.

Palomares' daughter, 3-year-old Angelina Santillian, was ejected from the vehicle. She was flown by helicopter to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Ferriera said.

Passenger John Juarez, 28, of Modesto, was pinned inside the vehicle and was taken to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries.

Palomares was not hurt.

Stabbing victim identified

A man stabbed to death Saturday night in southwest Fresno has been identified as Rene Colin, 35, of Fresno, the Fresno County Coroner's Office said Monday.

Police found Colin unconscious with a knife wound when they were called to 2482 S. Kirk Ave. Colin was taken to Community Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and later died.

Anyone with information about Colin's death is asked to call detective Chris Serrano at (559) 621-2452 or anonymously at (559) 498-7867.

Grips gang member held

Fresno police arrested a Crips gang member Sunday night on several weapons charges after a traffic stop.

Police said they were working the area near Shields and Brawley avenues in west Fresno after businesses and residents reported an influx of gang members and drug dealers. The area also had a rash of armed robberies.

Hurbert Laffall, 20, of Fresno was arrested about 6 p.m. after a traffic violation.

Police found a loaded handgun under the seat of Laffall's vehicle. The gun had been reported stolen about three months ago, police said.

Motorcyclist arrested

Fresno police stopped a man early Sunday after he was seen going more than 100 mph on his motorcycle.

Andre Zaragoza Balderas, 25, of Fresno was arrested on suspicion of speeding, driving under the influence and being a felon in possession of a loaded concealed firearm.

Police said Balderas was speeding on northbound Highway 41 in north Fresno. He exited at Herndon Avenue and came to a stop near Fresno Street.

The police officer arrested Balderas after noticing a gun in his waistband. The officer reported finding a small bag of marijuana in Balderas' pocket.

Fresno man found dead

Riverside County sheriff's officials are investigating the death of a Fresno man whose body was found near railroad tracks in Cabazon, about 17 miles northwest of Palm Springs.

Sheriff's officials say a Union Pacific railroad employee found the body of 49-year-old Gustavo Morin early Saturday.

A coroner's report described Morin as a "pedestrian struck by a train."

Former Hanford mayor hospitalized after crash

A former Hanford mayor and school board member remains hospitalized after he was seriously hurt in a traffic accident in Hanford.

Hanford police said Simon Lakritz, 78, apparently was driving a 2002 Honda Civic east on Fargo Avenue near Douty Street shortly after 10 p.m. Friday. Officers said Lakritz drifted to the side of the road and ran into a parked trailer.

Lakritz was able to get out of the car, but collapsed and was taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. Police officials said Lakritz was in critical condition.

Lakritz served for 24 years on the Hanford City Council, including multiple terms as the city's mayor, before stepping aside in 2000. The former Han- ford High School teacher and administrator also served from 2002 to 2006 on the Hanford Joint Union High School District board of trustees.

Officers are asking anyone who saw the accident to contact the Hanford Police Department at (559) 585-2540.

10 arrested at checkpoint

Fresno police arrested 10 people for driving under the influence and impounded 36 vehicles during a checkpoint Saturday night.

The checkpoint was in the westbound lanes of Ashlan Avenue near Marks Avenue.


Child porn nets 15 years

Robert Gogolewski, 24, who was stationed at Lemoore Naval Air Station, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in federal prison and 20 years probation on child pornography charges. He also will be required to register as a sex offender after his release.

Prosecutor David Gappa said Gogolewski came under investigation after he attempted to transmit two child pornography images in a January 2006 e-mail.

America Online detected the images and referred them to analysts at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which then turned the information over to federal agents in Fresno.

When a search warrant was executed at Gogolewski's residence on LNAS, agents found more than 900 still and 24 video images of child pornography.