On December 11, at approximately 1 a.m., the Burbank Police Department began receiving numerous calls from citizens about a black Mercedes Benz racing area of Kenneth Rd. around Magnolia Blvd. and Olive Ave. Callers, who were reported “scared to death,” reported that the car was being driven on the wrong side of the road. Two patrol units and the police helicopter were dispatched to the area to locate the vehicle.
The helicopter spotted the suspect vehicle doing “donuts” in the intersection of Olive and Kenneth. The driver then headed to Palm Ave., where he turned and headed down the road with his lights off. Officer J. Martinez was waiting for the driver at Sixth St. and Palm. When the suspect vehicle stopped next to the police car, the officer ordered the suspect to pull over. The driver, using a few “pleasantries,” told the officer he wasn’t doing anything wrong — took off. The officer activated his red lights and siren and pulled the vehicle over on Glenoaks Blvd. at Palm. When the officer got out of his patrol car, the suspect sped away again. As the driver turned right onto Orange Grove Ave., he made an obscene gesture towards the pursuing officer. The drive then proceeded to drive around the Police Station, sticking both hands out the window in obscene gestures.
While being pursued by police through city streets, the suspect nearly collided with two separate vehicles before entering the westbound 134 freeway at Victory Blvd. As he approached the 101 freeway, his vehicle reached speeds approaching 120 mph. Officers noted that he did turn on his emergency flashers once he reached 90 mph, although he was reported to still be driving with his headlights off. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) then joined the pursuit. The CHP, with the Burbank helicopter, followed the suspect to the Reseda Blvd. off ramp where he exited the freeway. He then drove to the area of Reseda and Victory Blvds., where he parked behind an apartment complex at 6455 Reseda Blvd., and ran into the building. Units from the Los Angeles Police Department helped surround the building.
Because the Mercedes Benz had no license plates, police used the car’s identification number to find that it was registered to that address, but without an apartment number. With the help from several citizens, the officers were able to locate the man’s apartment. They found the driver at his family’s apartment in the building. After more “pleasantries” from the suspect, he told officers that he had been sleeping all night. The suspect was still wearing his clothes. Armen Petrosyan, 22, of Reseda, was placed under arrest and taken to jail, where he was booked for felony evading, numerous traffic violations, and a warrant — for “exhibition of speed.” His bail was set at $75,000. As of this morning, he was still being held in the County Jail. His Mercedes Benz was impounded by police.
Ross A. Benson contributed to this story.