Lamborghini driver caught speeding 152 mph on California highway gets license suspended

·3 min read
California Highway Patrol

A Southern California man ticketed for driving nearly three times the legal speed limit on Highway 154 had his driver’s license suspended for 30 days, and must pay $1,950 in fines and fees, a Santa Maria Superior Court judge ruled Monday.

Zhan John Akopyan, 50, of La Canada Flintridge was found guilty of driving more than 100 mph on Nov. 20 while behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Aventador.

He was logged going 152 mph in an area where the speed limit is 55 mph.

Judge Kay S. Kuns issued her ruling after a brief trial in traffic court, where Officer Joel Asmussen testified about the traffic stop on a road where many fatal crashes have occurred over the years.

He recalled seeing the fast-moving Lamborghini and his vehicle’s radar logging the speed at 152 mph before dropping. After the CHP officer made a U-turn to pursue the blue Lamborghini, the driver yielded immediately.

“It is likely if Mr. Akobyan had continued driving in the reckless manner I observed, he would have been involved in a collision due to the high rate of speed,” Asmussen said.

The highway has a number of driveways and other intersections with cross traffic, along with loose cattle or wildlife such as deer, also causing potential hazards for drivers.

Asmussen also discussed the steps taken to ensure the radar was worked properly on the day he issued the ticket.

In addition to suspending Akopyan’s driver’s license for the maximum amount of time, the judge noted he will receive two points on his driver’s license for the conviction.

The judge said the 30-day suspension will become effective at 12:01 a.m. March 23 to give Akopyan time to find other transportation.

She also noted Akopyan, who was not present in court Monday, was not eligible for traffic school.

During an arraignment hearing last month, an attorney entered a not-guilty plea on Akopyan’s behalf.

Before ending the case, Kuns told defense attorney John Carlson that he might want to advise Akopyan how lucky he is that he didn’t cause a crash or kill somebody where he would have faced felony charges.

Asmussen initially had recommended the driver face a misdemeanor charge for reckless driving, a step up from an infraction.

At the start of the hearing, the judge noted the infraction listed on the complaint was not actionable or chargeable, leading attorneys on both sides to agree to amend the complaint to reflect an infraction for driving more than 100 mph.

Akopyan’s attorney had asked if the judge would reduce the charge in exchange for a no-contest plea, but Kuns said she was not inclined to do that.

His case was one of several traffic tickets contested Monday in Kuns’ courtroom, with another driver nabbed for “extremely high speed” on Highway 166 in late 2019.

The citation was dismissed since the officer didn’t have his notes from the incident and the judge noted turmoil in 2020 affecting court schedules.

The judge still had a strong reminder for the driver, a college student now enrolled in a San Diego area university, as she reminded him to “keep your speed down.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at