Driver who killed 2 spectators during street race in Chatsworth gets 12 years in prison
The driver who killed two people during an illegal street race in Chatsworth last year was sentenced Monday to 12 years in state prison, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.
Karen Gary Balyan, 43, of North Hollywood was driving a high-performance Mustang during a nighttime race Feb. 26 near Canoga Avenue and Plummer Street — an area known informally as the Canoga Speedway.
Within seconds of the race’s start, Balyan lost control of the vehicle and plowed into dozens of spectators.
Two men watching the race — Eric Siguenza, 26, of Los Angeles and Wilson Thomas Wong, 50, of Torrance — were killed. A third man was seriously injured. Balyan, as well as dozens of spectators, fled.
Balyan pleaded no contest Dec. 22 to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and admitted to fleeing the scene during the commission of the crime, the district attorney’s office said. He also entered a no contest plea to one misdemeanor count of assault with a deadly weapon.
The driver of the other vehicle in the race, Irael Valenzuela, 39, of Los Angeles, was sentenced Monday to one year in jail and five years’ formal probation, according to the district attorney’s office.
Valenzuela entered a no contest plea Dec. 22 to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
The owner of the Ford Mustang that Balyan was driving, 22-year-old Henry Michael Gevorgyan of Van Nuys, was sentenced to one year in county jail and three years’ formal probation, the district attorney’s office said.
His driver’s license also was suspended, and the judge ordered the Mustang destroyed.
Gevorgyan pleaded no contest Dec. 24 to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
Police initially identified Gevorgyan as a driver in the race and distributed his photo, which quickly spread across the Internet.
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