Driver arrested in fatal hit-and-run in Griffith Park

Hikers climb a trail away from the observatory in Griffith Park.
Los Angeles police arrested a motorist involved in a fatal hit-and-run collision in Griffith Park.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles police announced Sunday evening they had arrested the motorist involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash in Griffith Park this weekend.

The incident occurred about 3 p.m. Saturday when a man and woman got into an argument on Fern Dell Drive, said Officer Rosario Cervantes, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department.

A light-blue 2006 Lexus driven by the woman then struck Valeriy Saakan, 70, police said. Saakan had apparently lost his footing and, according to a statement by the Police Department, was “intentionally run over” with his own car by the driver, who then fled.


Saakan was hospitalized but later died of his injuries.

Hollywood patrol officers spotted the car, which had damage from a crash and was covered with a blue tarp, on Sunday morning near Lexington Avenue and Vine Street, police said.

Officers took custody of a woman, identified as Sonia Sovereign, 32, after she exited the Lexus. She was arrested on charges of murder and her bail has been set at $1 million, according to police.

Police said she confessed while being interviewed by a detective.