Southern California breaking news and trends

500 DUI arrests counted so far in July 4 holiday period

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A California Highway Patrol cruiser, July 17, 2011 in Los Angeles.

The beginning of the summer brings more drivers to the road and increased traffic patrols looking for drunk drivers. So far this holiday week, police in L.A. County have counted nearly 500 DUI arrests. That count is just from Friday, June 29 through Tuesday, July 3, so expect it to go up once July 4 data is available. Despite that high-sounding number, California Highway Patrol Officer Vince Ramirez says the roads haven't been that bad.

"The general consensus we're getting from officers is that traffic has been relatively light this week and it may have been directly effected by the fact that the July 4 holiday fell in the middle of the week," Ramirez said.

A countywide DUI crackdown by multiple agencies will continue through Sunday. Tonight: Norwalk checkpoints. Exact spots haven't been announced yet. 


Assault charges for men involved in I-5 road rage video

Two men in the famous I-5 road-rage-caught-on-tape incident have been formally charged and a  little more info is available from the District Attorney's office.

First off, David Mendez, 21, and Edras A. Ramirez, 27, are charged with 2 counts each of felony assault. They each face one count of assault with a deadly weapon (in this case, their feet) and one count of assault by means likely to cause great bodily injury. If convicted, they could each spend up to 7 years in prison.

At the moment, both are out on $60,000 bail and are due in court July 13 to enter their pleas.

As for the other man involved, Jerry Patterson, he has not been charged in the incident. But, Patterson was arrested by Long Beach police on an outstanding warrant in a separate road incident, in which he is accused of driving under the influence and a hit and run. Patterson is scheduled for arraignment July 6.


Two men in custody in apparent road rage fight video

The California Highway Patrol says that two men involved in the viral video of an apparent road-rage-inspired fight on the I-5 last week are in custody at LA's Central Jail.

CHP Officer Chris Baldonado said 21-year-old David Mendez and 27-year-old Edras Ramirez, both of Los Angeles, were arrested for assault charges. 

The fight happened June 12 around 3:30 p.m. on the northbound 1-5 just south of Seventh Street. Someone called 911 to report the incident, and first-responders arrived within two minutes, but everyone had fled the scene, including the man who was apparently beaten. CHP became aware of the video late Monday when media outlets started calling, asking questions about the incident depicted. CHP then opened an investigation.

This post has been updated.