Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Driver in High-Speed Chase Blames God for the Whole Thing

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

By Amanda SchwartzClaiming that he just wanted "to make history," a suspected drunk driver led police on a high-speed chase last night beginning in Burbank and, four freeways later, ending in a collision under a Hollywood overpass.

Driving a black Mercedes-Benz, the suspect identified as 29-year-old Vardan Aslanyan allegedly hit a total of three cars and injured five people including a 3-year-old boy, according to KTLA. Burbank police and CHP started tracking the suspect at around 7:45 pm in Burbank, when an off-duty police officer called him in for reckless driving. The suspect hit speeds of at least 120 mph as he led police onto the 5, 118, 170 and, finally, the 101 freeways.

Still, no one is immune to traffic on the 101, not even if you’re in a high-speed car chase. In an effort to dodge the packed lanes, the driver took to the emergency lane on the southbound 101, only to slam into the center divider and another vehicle, damaging the car’s front wheel. But this didn’t deter the suspect from continuing onto surface streets in Hollywood and hitting two more cars, including a Miami man on vacation with his 3-year-old son, before he was taken into custody.

Bryant Valencia, the Miami man whose SUV was hit by the suspect, said he swerved to avoid hitting the car, before his car flipped over: "That's the type of stuff you see on the TV in Miami. You never thought it would happen to you."

Support for LAist comes from

Aslanyan spoke to KTLA reporter briefly after being taken into police custody. When asked about the child who was injured in the crash, he said, “I apologize, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I would never disrespect no one’s child.”

With wide eyes, he also told KFI radio (via Patch), "I would never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever disrespect law enforcement when they chase me, because I would not run. Running is not a good thing."

Did the devil make him do it? Nope. He told KTLA that "God took over."

Five people, including Valencia’s son and the suspect were taken to the hospital for minor injuries. No CHP officers were injured in the chase, according to the CHP Southern Division Twitter handle.