The Ventura County Star reports that a two-vehicle crash claimed the lives of three young women on Highway 118 in Granada Hills. An intoxicated driver is believed to have caused the crash.
According to a report released by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, the victims have been identified, and their families have been notified. The circumstances of the three women, ages 18, 20, and 23, had been withheld pending further investigation.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the crash happened at approximately 11:55 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, in the eastbound lanes of Highway 118 near the 405 Freeway transition.
The CHP and the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to multiple calls reporting the accident. A 2003 Mercedes Benz C240 sedan was stopped for an unknown reason in the transition lane when a Mercedes Benz 550SL convertible rear-ended it
Eyewitnesses say that the convertible, slamming into the sedan, sent the older vehicle into a concrete retaining wall, causing it to burst into flame. All attempts made by Good Samaritans and emergency crews to save the occupants inside the burning vehicle failed.
All three women reportedly died at the scene.
The male driver of the convertible, 63-year-old Karen Gharibyan, also suffered major injuries and was rushed by ambulance to Holy Cross Hospital in Providence. Acting as spokesperson for the CHP’s West Valley Station, Officer Weston Haver told reporters that Gharibyan was later arrested on three counts of suspicion of DUI murder.
Court documents indicate Gharibyan has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and suspicion of DUI on Wednesday. He will appear at the Clara Shortridge Folze Criminal Justice Center for a preliminary hearing on June 9.