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By Cheryl Brown

Rodney King Lands in Hospital While SUV Lands in Rialto Home

Fifteen-year-old Tily Howard was asleep in her brother’s bedroom around 11:00 a.m. Sunday at their house located on the corner of Pepper and Spruce on the San Bernardino side of the Rialto bench, when what she described as a bomb or missile hit the house and sent her running, falling, crawling, out of the door into the arms of a neighbor.

She later found out that a car hit her house and the driver was the famous Rodney King, the man who was beaten by several Los Angeles police officers 11 years ago.

Tily is the daughter of Van Howard, a freelance photojournalist and frequent contributor to The Black Voice News.

Howard, who returned home just a few minutes after the crash, said that he was stunned but his first responsibility was to help calm his daughter down. He said, "I got my camera after I saw that she was okay. It will take a while for the wreckage to be removed."

As she calmed down he went to the west side of his house where the new Chino Hills Ford Expedition was lodged and in the car was a man who looked like Rodney King. When he asked the officer who it was he was not given a clear answer but paperwork left behind identified King’s name and address.
"I was really shocked when I saw it was him," said Howard.

Howard’s neighbor may have helped to save King’s life. He used a towel to stop King’s wound from bleeding before being relieved by the police.

Howard interviewed witnesses who said the police were chasing the navy blue Expedition south on Pepper and the Expedition swerved to miss a woman who was getting ready to cross the street.

"Two sets of tracks show where the police stopped and the King car suddenly swerved," said Howard. The un-named woman was reportedly so shaken by the incident that she sought medical attention at a local hospital.

Howard interviewed Salazar Gomez, (and his mother), who said that he was walking toward the house when he heard the police going toward Foothill. Both he and his mother said that they saw him. "I saw the cops going toward Foothill. I heard some lady who was screaming. He (the driver) tried to dodge the lady in the street," said Gomez.

Another witness, Kevin Cotton, said that he had turned south on Pepper from Baseline.

The (King) car passed him and was going fast. “I think he ran the stop sign (at Etiwanda) and the police came up and began chasing it,” Cotton explained. Rialto Police Sargent Cross, Watch Commander, told the Black Voice News, "the officers saw him travelling fast down Pepper and they tried to catch him to stop him. The crash occurred before they could catch him. The matter is still under investigation.”

Cotton was shaken as he came up on the scene about 300 yards away. Cotton said that he saw what happened. "They were trying to chase who was in the car. I saw a blue streak hit the pole, go in the yard, and the car turned over. The car he was driving was similar (to mine) -- a Ford Explorer. I immediately got on my cell phone to call my grandmother before they (his family) thought it was me," said Cotton.

"The police were right on the scene but a Mexican man jumped his fence and took a towel to keep the blood down. The police made him leave," said Van Howard. Howard continued, "Before he made him leave he heard the policeman ask him why did he run? King said, why you always following me," said Howard.

Rialto has taken the lead in the investigation and has received authorization from San Bernardino, since it is in their jurisdiction. A press release reported, "he was observed by a Rialto police officer travelling southbound on Pepper at a high rate of speed, and weaving through traffic. Before the officer could take any enforcement action the Exposition struck a tree, a power pole, a chain-linked fence and the house."

King hit a tree, took out a chain-linked fence, sheared the telephone pole in half, took out a stump of a tree, knocked out the windows and left a hole in the wall of Howard’s house.
King was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center where police say he has a broken pelvis but is in fair condition.

When Clint Samuels of Chino Hills Ford heard the news he said he was saddened because King had purchased the Expedition a few months ago from him. " I sat with him while he was making the purchase. He is a heck of a nice guy. I hate that he has such bad luck," said Samuels.

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