A 21-year-old Glendale man faces three years of probation after pleading no contest to causing the deaths of two Good Samaritans who were electrocuted as they tried to help him from his wrecked SUV, prosecutors said.
Arman Samsonian, who entered his plea Wednesday in court to one count of vehicular manslaughter, also faces 70 days of community labor and will be ordered to pay fines and restitution to the victims' families, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Samsonian was driving at a high rate of speed Aug. 22, 2012 when he lost control and struck a light pole in Valley Village on Magnolia Boulevard, shearing a fire hydrant that flooded the ground with water, which became electrified when it came into contact with exposed electrical wires, the Glendale News-Press reported.
During Samsonian's preliminary hearing last year, Daniel Woloszyn testified that he had pulled over to call 911 after witnessing the crash when his wife, Burbank resident Irma Zamora, jumped out of their vehicle to see if “whoever was in the accident was OK.”
As he too got out to investigate, Woloszyn said he saw his 40-year-old wife lying on the ground, dead after stepping into the electrified water.
He stepped in to grab her, but was immediately shocked.
Stacey Schreiber, 39, of Valley Village would also be electrocuted trying to assist Samsonian.
Schreiber and Zamora were killed instantly, officials said. Rescue crews had to use a 6-foot-pole to retrieve their bodies.
When it was all said and done, six others, including a Los Angeles police officer and Samsonian, who was 19 at the time of the incident, were injured by electrical shock but escaped with their lives.
Witnesses in court also testified seeing Samsonian’s Chevrolet Traverse being driven recklessly prior to the crash.
Samsonian’s attorney, Andrew Flier, didn’t argue that his client may have been driving recklessly on Magnolia Boulevard, but said there was no way to know that the “intervening acts” would occur once he turned onto Ben Avenue and crashed.
He also argued that the people on the scene should have known the inherent dangers associated with downed power lines and standing water.
Samsonian is scheduled to be sentenced in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Van Nuys on June 6.