12:17 PM PST, November 19, 2012
A 19-year-old Glendale man pleaded not guilty Monday to vehicular manslaughter charges related to the deaths of two women — including one from Burbank — who were electrocuted when they tried to render aid after he crashed into a light pole and fire hydrant, officials said.
Arman Samsonian faces two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for the Aug. 22 deaths of Stacey Schreiber, 39, of Valley Village and Irma Zamora, 40, of Burbank, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Samsonian was allegedly driving at high rate of speed on Magnolia Boulevard before losing control of his SUV at about 8:20 p.m. and crashing into the light pole and fire hydrant at Ben Avenue in Valley Village, officials said.
Exposed wires from the downed power lines electrified a pool of water from the sheared fire hydrant with 4,800-volts of electricity, killing Schreiber and Zamora when they approached the wrecked SUV to help Samsonian, who was trapped inside.
Rescue crews used a 6-foot pole with hooks and a handle to retrieve the women, officials said.
In all, six people, including a Los Angeles police officer, and the driver, were injured from electrical shock.
If convicted, Samsonian faces a maximum sentence of seven years and four months in prison, according to the district attorney’s office.
He is scheduled appear Dec. 19 in a Los Angeles County Superior Court in Van Nuys for a pretrial hearing.
-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News