A Lamborghini was caught speeding 152 miles per hour on a California freeway, the CHP reports. Anti-Tax Driver

A 50-year-old man cited for allegedly driving a Lamborghini at 152mph – almost three times the speed limit – will fight the fine he received in the accident in the Santa Ynez Valley.

But the challenge is the violation he was issued, which followed an initial misdemeanor charge after a California Highway Patrol trooper pulled him over on Interstate 154.

Jean John Hakopian of La Cañada Flintridge was pulled over Nov. 20 while driving an Aventador coupe westbound on the freeway near Meadowvale Road, less than a mile west of the 246 freeway roundabout in Santa Ynez.

In January, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office charged Hakopian with misdemeanor speeding.

The CHP citation contained a careless driving charge.

During a February 6 court appearance, a lawyer representing Hakopyan pleaded not guilty on behalf of his client.

A Los Angeles County man driving a Lamborghini was arrested for going 152 mph — well over the 55 mph speed limit — on Interstate 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

Court records show the driver is represented by Beverly Hills-based attorney Nathan Soleimani, who declined to comment.

The case is set for 1:30 p.m. March 20 in Superior Court in Santa Maria.

“It is likely that if Mr. Hakopian had continued to drive in the reckless manner that I observed, he would have been involved in a collision due to the high speed,” Officer Joel Asmussen wrote in the citation provided to the court.

“This highway contains multiple locations where there is cross traffic and winding blind turns in mountainous terrain.”

Asmussen noted that the man was approaching the four-way stop at the Baseline Avenue/Edison Street intersection, where traffic often builds up on the weekend.

Officers recommended that the driver be charged with a felony, not a misdemeanor.

District Attorney John Savrnoch, who noted he could not comment on the specifics of the current case, said certain elements must be present and proven for a misdemeanor charge, rather than a misdemeanor.

“It’s not just speed alone that makes a driving offense a crime,” he said.

For example, street racing – a display of speed intended to impress someone else – would not qualify if someone was driving a powerful car very fast.

To prove a charge of reckless driving, the accident must have an element of danger to others, which would involve more than speeding on a relatively empty straight stretch of highway.

The CHP noted the non-routine traffic stop and the need for the delay in a social media post that drew a number of comments.

“SLOW DOWN!!! 154 is the state highway, NOT the speed limit,” CHP Buellton’s office said in a Facebook post on Nov. 20. “We know how tempting it can be to ‘open up’ when your car is fast and the weather is lovely, but save it for the track!’

The post notes that the speed limit for that section of Highway 154 is 55 mph.

“We will continue to do what we do best, trying to make the roads as safe as possible for the motoring public,” said Officer Michael Griffith of the CHP’s Buellton office.

Interstate 154 and the people who drive it have been the focus of ongoing safety efforts amid a series of crashes, many of them fatal.

Third District Supervisor Joan Hartman, who chairs the Highway 154 Safety Committee, noted that data shows “dangerous driving is the No. 1 cause of accidents on Highway 154.”

“While they will not eradicate dangerous driving, enforcement and penalties are important deterrents to avoiding this practice,” she said.

Highway 154 does not meet the state’s requirements for a double fined zone to enhance safety.

However, local efforts have resulted in minor improvements, such as new signage, striping changes, and the installation of lane restraints.

A roundabout was constructed at the intersection of Highway 154 and Highway 246 in 2014 as a means of calming traffic. Another will be built at the intersection of Highway 154, Baseline Avenue and Edison Street.

The CHP also periodically receives grants to boost its law enforcement and education efforts.

Savrnoch, who took office in January, said he is an advocate for local road safety, with a focus on drug or alcohol-impaired driving, evading police and other violations.

“It’s such an easily avoidable and senseless crime, driving offences, and it puts really innocent people at risk every time someone commits one,” he said.

Noozhawk North County Editor Janene Scully can be reached at [email protected]

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