Driver Arrested in Valley Village Crash That Led to Women's Electrocutions

Update, Friday Oct. 26, 2012: Armen Samsonian was released Friday after posting bail. He is scheduled to appear at the Van Nuys Courthouse on Nov. 19.

The driver who in August slammed into a utility pole and sheered off a fire hydrant in Valley Village creating a pool of electrified water that would kill two would-be rescuers was arrested on Thursday.

Armen Samsonian, 19, turned himself in Thursday afternoon and was booked on two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the LA County District Attorney.

He’s being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to the county’s inmate information website.

Irma Zamora, 40, of Burbank, and Stacey Schreiber, 39, of Valley Village were killed on Aug. 22 as they attempted to help Samsonian out of his white Chevy Traverse, which police say was travelling at a high rate of speed going west on Magnolia Boulevard when the driver apparently lost control as he tried to make a right turn onto Ben Avenue.

Several people were shocked as they attempted to help Samsonian and the women, one of whom died in front of her husband.


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The horrific incident galvanized the community to donate enough money to cover the ambulance costs for the eight people who were injured. And city officials lauded the spirit of the two women.

"Yesterday was a day of heartbreaking tragedy but it was also a day of inspiring heroism," Los Angeles City councilman Paul Krekorian said at a news conference on Aug. 23.

The tragedy also prompted reminders to residents to call 911 immediately and to "always, always" assess the safety of a situation before running in.

If convicted, Samsonian faces a maximum of seven years and four months in prison.


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