2 held in car chase

1 suspect at large

Three men allegedly had an open bottle of rum in their Mercedes-Benz, and leafy substance thought to be marijuana.

September 18, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

CITY CENTER — Burbank police arrested two residents who led officers on a high-speed car chase Tuesday evening before slamming into a car and fleeing the scene, authorities said.

The driver, Suren Ginian, 20, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, hit-and-run, resisting arrest and evading police. He is being held at the Burbank jail on $75,000 bail. Passenger Francisco Juarez, 23, was arrested and booked for allegedly resisting arrest. His bail was set at $10,000.

A third male suspect remains at large, Burbank police Sgt. Robert Quesada said.

Neither Ginian nor Juarez had warrants for their arrest, police said. The case is being investigated and has been referred to county prosecutors, though charges have yet to be filed.


Officers responded to 1111 E. Providencia Ave. about 8 p.m. after a neighbor complained about a group of men loitering and possibly drinking alcohol. As officers tried to make contact, Ginian sped off west from the intersection of Providencia Avenue and South Sunset Canyon Drive in a black Mercedes-Benz. The car, which is registered to the driver, continued on Providencia Avenue, nearly colliding head-on with a patrol car coming down the other side of the street, police said.

“The driver was headed right at him,” Quesada said. “The officer had to swerve out of the way to avoid being hit head-on.”

During the chase through residential streets, police said, Ginian topped speeds of 70 mph and blew a stop sign at South Bel Aire Drive before slamming into a Toyota Camry in the intersection of Providencia Avenue and South Kenneth Road.

Burbank residents Ghazarian Varaga, 21, and Arman Ayvazyan, 19, were not injured in the crash, police said.

The three suspects then fled the scene on foot as officers called for support and set up a perimeter, Quesada said.

One man was found hiding in the 700 block of East Olive Avenue in the street gutter; another was sitting down at 718 E. Olive Ave. on a pile of debris. Both were taken into custody about 8:30 p.m., police said.

Officers say they searched the Mercedes-Benz and found an open bottle of rum and leafy brown substance believed to be marijuana.

Detectives are expected to rely on footage of nearby businesses — Burbank police cars are not fitted with video cameras — and question the men in custody for information leading to the third suspect.

“The whole chase would have lasted longer had they not crashed into somebody,” Quesada said. “There were opportunities there where somebody — possibly crossing the street, walking their dog — could have been badly hurt. We’re just thankful nothing like that happened.”

The high-speed chase occurred at the same time Democratic Assemblyman Paul Krekorian hosted a public forum on speeding and traffic safety with command staffs of the Glendale and Burbank police departments.

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