“We’re trying to look into all possibilities, whether it qualifies as a collision or if it’s an intentional act," said CHP Sgt. Todd Kovaletz

By Harriet Sokmensuer
June 07, 2019 02:52 PM
Arda Melikyan and Luke Fitch 
Facebook (2)

California authorities are investigating a violent head-on collision that killed one woman as a possible intentional act, PEOPLE confirms.

On Wednesday, shortly before 9 a.m., a silver Mercedes-Benz was driving southbound on the northbound side of Route 73 when it hit a BMW head-on, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash killed the driver of the BMW, who was identified by authorities as Arda Gulesserian, California Highway Patrol spokesman John DeMatteo tells PEOPLE. However, the victim’s family identified her as 64-year-old Arda Melikyan to local station KTLA.

The driver of the Mercedes, identified as 23-year-old Luke Fitch, had been driving erratically before entering the highway and hitting Melikyan’s vehicle at 100 miles per hour, DeMatteo says.

  • Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

“Based on the driving we have beforehand, we kind of have to treat it as if it looks like an intentional act, a homicide thus far,” CHP Sgt. Todd Kovaletz told KTLA at the scene. “We’re trying to look into all possibilities, whether it qualifies as a collision or if it’s an intentional act.”

DeMatteo says investigators are looking at the case from all angles.

“It’s easier to start there and downgrade if we need to,” he says.


Fitch was injured and taken to a local hospital in critical condition. He had sustained fractures to his ankle and femur and as of Thursday was in a medically induced coma. It is unknown if he has gained consciousness to answer questions, but no arrests have been made as of Friday, DeMatteo says.

Police are awaiting the results of a toxicology test to determine whether Fitch was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“The investigation is ongoing and it appears that it’s going to be a lengthy one,” DeMatteo says. “So it’s not something that’s going to be in a week or so.”

Anyone with information pertaining to the case is urged to call California Highway Patrol at (714) 567-6000.