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Driver in Fatal Crash Had Just Watched Street-Racing Movie

Police say suspect was going at least 30 mph over limit. Granada Hills man is killed.

June 11, 2003|Monte Morin | Times Staff Writer

A 78-year-old Granada Hills man died when his car was struck by a motorist who told police he had just watched the street-racing film "2 Fast 2 Furious," according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Keijo Iko was killed instantly as he rounded the corner of Rinaldi Street south onto Hayvenhurst Avenue on Sunday. Iko's Toyota Camry was struck by a Nissan Altima that was speeding along Hayvenhurst between 70 mph and 90 mph, according to police. The posted limit on the street is 40 mph, authorities said.

The driver of the Nissan, Vahan Shahenian, 23, of Granada Hills, suffered a broken arm in the crash and a male passenger complained of internal pains afterward, police said. Both were taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills.

The 4:30 p.m. accident is still under investigation. Shahenian could face charges of vehicular homicide, according to Det. Kathleen Burns of the LAPD Valley Traffic Division.

Shahenian denied he was speeding at the time of the accident, but he did tell investigators that he and his passenger had just watched the high-speed racing film.

Police said Tuesday that they were not drawing a direct link between the accident and the movie.

"He said he and his passenger had just seen the movie, but that doesn't mean he doesn't drive like this every day," Burns said. "I can't say there's any correlation between movies and driving. But when it comes to males in their late teens and early 20s, speeding is common."

Burns said Shahenian was not racing another vehicle at the time of the crash.

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