Man Pleads No Contest in Crash that Electrocuted 2 Good Samaritans

Arman Samsonian faces 70 days of community labor and three years probation.

The August 2012 crash scene in Valley Village. Patch file photo.
The August 2012 crash scene in Valley Village. Patch file photo.

A Glendale man pleaded no contest today to vehicular manslaughter in connection with an August 2012 crash in Valley Village that led to the electrocution of two good Samaritans who rushed to the scene and stepped in water electrified by a toppled light pole.

Arman Samsonian, now 21, is facing 70 days of community labor and three years probation on the felony charge, with sentencing set June 6 in Van Nuys, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Samsonian is also expected to be order to pay fines, along with restitution to the victims' families.

A second count of vehicular manslaughter against Samsonian is expected to be dismissed when he is sentenced, according to the District Attorney's Office.

He was charged in October 2012 in connection with an Aug. 22, 2012, collision in which the SUV he was driving sheared a fire hydrant and toppled a light pole near the corner of Magnolia Boulevard and Ben Avenue, creating a pool of electrified water.

Stacey Lee Schreiber, 39, of Valley Village, and Irma Zamora, 40, of Burbank, were electrocuted when they stepped in the water while running to the scene of the crash.

Zamora was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by her husband behind the SUV that crashed, and Schreiber rushed out of her home to help Samsonian. Six other people suffered electrical burns, and five were hospitalized for a time. One of the injured was a patrol officer from the LAPD's North Hollywood station who suffered a shock through one of his boots, police said.

Samsonian's friend, Ashot Avanisian, testified at a hearing last year that he and Samsonian were each shocked while trying to help the women.

A police detective who interviewed Samsonian while he was in the hospital after the crash testified that he said he had gotten impatient because traffic was piling up and that he began driving in the center lane. He told police he had returned to the main lane and was going about 15 to 20 mph when he tried to turn.

At a preliminary hearing last August in which Samsonian was ordered to stand trial, defense attorney Andrew Flier argued, "Clearly, based on this evidence, this is a tragic accident ... It's so unforeseeable that people are going to die from being electrocuted."

He argued that his client could not have reasonably foreseen the possibility of an electrified pool of water being created in a crash, while acknowledging that his client "might have been speeding."

Deputy District Attorney Ron Carey countered at that hearing that Samsonian had been "speeding down a crowded road" and that it was reasonably foreseeable that someone might be injured if he was to crash on a street lined with power lines and light poles.

--City News Service

Alex White May 08, 2014 at 01:08 PM
Wow, that's a competent attorney, and puts the unjust in the Justice System. Unfortunately for the rest of us. Secondly, one must admit that some people just don't think traffic laws apply to them...ever.... In fact, sometimes it's like a Mad Max Road Rally out there dodging the rapidly accelerating, darkly tinted-windowed, Reefer spewing BMW's, Mercedes's, and Lexus's-- Cellphones glued to ear, angry scowls ever present, one millisecond from a non-Blinker Light, unsafe lane change "cut-off" & then the ole "slam-on-the brakes" power move.
Adam May 08, 2014 at 01:25 PM
Community service?!? That guy should have gotten several years in prison for manslaughter at the least!
Geraldo Cruz May 08, 2014 at 02:53 PM
It's tragic and horrible beyond belief for the families of the two women who rushed to help and lost their lives. How do we forget, though, that this kid was 19 when the accident happened? This could have been anyone's son. Can you imagine how horrific it was for him? How scary? ... and then to have not one but two people die as a result? Can you imagine the grief and guilt this kid lives with every day of his life? I think some of you are being too hard on him and forgetting that this was a tragic and horrible accident. I feel terrible for the families of ALL involved.
Lightnapper May 08, 2014 at 03:12 PM
@Cruz... He had a driver's license. He knew the rules because he apparently passed the test and signed the consent forms allowing him to "operate a motor vehicle" in a safe and sane manner, according to the Calif. Vehicle Code. Driving is a privilege not a right. He endangered people and helped to create a tragedy. He should take responsibility for his actions. Stand up and be a man. He's not a child. How do you feel about unlicensed drivers? Uninsured drivers? DUI driver's. Hit and Run driver's? Enquiring minds want to know how far your compassion goes.
Bandelier Pilferage May 09, 2014 at 02:17 AM
@ At The Forum. Bandelier was just informed about this one and I am going to way in and talk about your momma and insult you 'all and stomp sensibilities. Not politically correct as you 'whitey's ' like to say. If a 'nigga' did this he'd be excoriated and hung by his 'nuts' by the State of California and the people of conscience of the dominating and in power vote of the Caucasian majority and ruling authority. First this Samsonian dude is of a long line of people known for fast-driving of their motor vehicle and disregard for the traffic laws and vehicle code of the State of California like Mexican's. You can't convict based on past history and ethnicity, can you? Well you've been doing it to 'nigga's' for two hundred years. The slave master mentality. This Samsonian was just a ignorant ARMO. Probably a DP family living in Glendale or Burbank. Does that fit the profile? Drive fast in your late model sports car and endanger others with complete disregard for their safety enabled by daddy and his money. Acting like upwardly mobile white America society already and only a first or second generation. I also accuse and allocate this tragedy to vile disgusting misappropriated immigration law in its most lenient form. What's these ARMO's doing in the United States anyway? Many have the mentality of rapist and robber-baron. In it for the money and screw anyone that gets in my way. That's the sentiment. Seen it too often to ascribe it as a anomaly and not typical. Washington politician's have open the 'Gates of Hell' with reckless interpretation of immigration law and its application. This was not only a tragedy for the two good people who lost their lives, but confirmation of the rule of money that directs the life-blood of are so called Republic. These two punks should be back in Russia(ARMENIAN) and not on the streets of CA where they will most likely repeat this vulgar insult to humanity. And what the shit is wrong with our court system and laws? Two people die and this maggot gets 70 days community labor and three years probation. Frigging INSANITY. I do not advocate street-justice but it would better serve this situation than the coddling jest of the local court of so-called justice which is a rank joke and insult to the families of those snuffed out by this human excrement. Driving is a privilege. Living in this country if not born here is also privilege with requirements and consequences. Ruling's of law like this one sour just law-biding and open the doors for survival of the fittest and law of the jungle. The judge that ruled in this case better search their soul.......and then do it again. No justice here. If there is no justice, there is no law because people of conscience will no longer accept this abomination of justice. My sentiments are with the families that lost their loved ones. These two reprobates if naturalized should be deported with the rest of the garbage after having their citizenship revoked. A greater authority and judge will sit in review and try to plead your case in futility too this judge, for he is the Judge of everything......from planets to atoms.


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