Pursuit Suspect Who Acted Strangely Had Narcotics on Him: Police

A four-freeway police pursuit that ended in a crash led to the arrest of a man suspected of being under the influence

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Vardan Aslanyan, 29, allegedly led police on a four-freeway pursuit on Friday, June 15, 2012, then offered strange statements to the media. He is in custody.

    A 29-year-old man was in custody Saturday after leading police on a four-freeway pursuit then offering strange statements to the media about the chase.

    Vardan Aslanyan, 29, was being held in the Burbank Police Department's jail on $105,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department inmate website.

    Pursuit Suspect: "Stop? Why Stop?"

    [LA] Pursuit Suspect: "Stop? Why Stop?"
    A driver led police on a high-speed chase over freeways and surface streets Friday, before colliding with three vehicles in Hollywood, where he was taken into custody. A woman and a toddler were injured, but were conscious and talking on the scene. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on June 15, 2012. (Published Saturday, Jun 16, 2012)

    After Burbank police on Friday evening attempted to pull Aslanyan over for a traffic stop, he led them on a chase on that reached speeds exceeding 100 mph and taking in the 118, 170, 101 and 5 freeways.

    The hour-long pursuit ended in Hollywood, where Aslanyan's black Mercedes crashed into at least two cars, sending several people to the hospital with injuries that did not appear life-threatening.

    The suspect told reporters at the scene that he would "never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever disrespect law enforcement."

    Still, moments later his attitude seemed to shift. Asked why he didn't stop, the man replied: "Stop? Why stop? Why stop when I'm an artist?"

    Aslanyan is being held on suspicion of multiple charges, including possession of narcotics, reckless driving causing injury, evading the police and causing injury, driving under the influence and driving on a suspended license, Burbank police Sgt. Daniel Mayreis said Saturday.

    The suspect was in county medical care for several hours before he could be taken to Burbank's jail -- where he continued to act strangely, Mayreis said.

    "By the time he got back here, he was still acting kind of weird," Mayreis said. "It appears a combination of narcotics, drugs and some other issues."

    The drugs that Aslanyan had allegedly used were not consistent with his behavior, Mayreis said, leading authorities to suspect psychological problems.

    The car that Aslanyan crashed into flipped over. It contained a couple and their 3-year-old boy.

    Two people, including the young boy, were taken to the hospital. The boy was complaining of back pain and a woman who was transported was complaining of chest bone pain.

    Mayreis said the hospitalization was precautionary.

    "At this point, I'm not aware of any serious injuries," he said.

    No court date has yet been set for Aslanyan.

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