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South El Monte Mayor Charged in Hit-Run


SOUTH EL MONTE — Mayor Stan Quintana, who faces a February recall election because of allegations that he has been unresponsive to constituents, has been charged with leaving the scene of an Oct. 22 traffic accident and filing a false report.

Investigators say Quintana drove his 1990 Lincoln Mark VII into the rear of a car that was stopped at a red light on Valley Boulevard at Del Mar Avenue in San Gabriel. That car hit a third car, according to a sheriff's deputy's report.

The driver of the third car complained of head pains after the accident.

Quintana left the scene before police arrived, contending that there was no need to file a report because most of the damage was sustained by his own car, a witness told Deputy Michael Gil.

Later that evening, Quintana called the Temple City Sheriff's Station from a South El Monte restaurant and said his car had been damaged while parked on Valley Boulevard.

The incident occurred on the same day that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge threw out a challenge to recall petitions against Quintana, whose recall election has been tentatively set for Feb. 5.

Quintana is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 3 in Alhambra Municipal Court on a hit-and-run charge and one count of filing a false crime report, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney said.

The mayor, reached at his home Wednesday, would not discuss the case, saying he was preparing a written statement.

In his report, Gil said Quintana appeared to be under the influence of alcohol on the night of the accident. His speech "was extremely slurred" and "he could not walk straight," said Gil, who drove Quintana home from the restaurant.

However, Gil could not establish that Quintana was intoxicated at the time of the accident. The deputy did not interview Quintana until more than half an hour after the three-car accident, and the mayor reportedly said that he had consumed some drinks afterward.

The deputy said he could find no evidence of a collision on Valley Boulevard where Quintana said his car had been damaged. But at the scene of the street accident, Gil said he found pieces of maroon fiberglass that matched Quintana's car.

The day after the accident, Quintana went to the sheriff's station and changed his account, acknowledging that he had been involved in the accident, San Gabriel Police Chief David Lawton said.

The second driver involved in the accident left the scene, Gil said. The third driver, Peter Santoso of Alhambra, reported the accident to San Gabriel police. It was Santoso who complained of head pains after the accident.

Quintana has been on the City Council for a total of 13 years. He was first elected in 1970 but was recalled in 1977. He was elected again in 1984. He was appointed to a one-year term as mayor in April.

Opponents who are demanding his ouster have charged that Quintana continues to support a redevelopment plan that voters have largely repudiated.

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