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Drunk Driver in Fatal Crash Gets 16 Years

A drunk driver whose speeding car killed three people in a head-on crash at Christmastime in 1987 was sentenced in Pasadena Superior Court on Wednesday to serve 16 years, 8 months in prison.

Judge Jack Tso sentenced Aram Barsumyan, 30, to the maximum term allowed on his conviction last month of three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and four felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Police said Barsumyan, a Soviet Armenian emigre living in Hollywood, was speeding on Los Feliz Boulevard in Glendale on Dec. 19, 1987, when he lost control of his auto, swerved into the westbound lane and crashed into a car carrying a family on a holiday shopping trip.

Francisco Cruz, 42, and his wife, Olga Yolanda Cruz, 32, of Azusa, and Olga’s sister, Maria Hernandez, 33, of Los Angeles, were killed. The Cruz’s two children were injured.

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Police said the percentage of alcohol in Barsumyan’s blood was measured at 0.19%, nearly twice the legal limit.


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