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Glendale mayor says distracted driving at 'epidemic' level in Glendale, citing charge in pedestrian death

20-year-old Arrested in Texting While Driving Death of Elderly Pedestrian

Glendale's mayor said the death of a pedestrian in a traffic collision that allegedly involved a texting driver who was arrested and charged Tuesday reflects an "epidemic" of distracted motorists and accidents involving pedestrians in Glendale.

"Driving is more than getting from one place to another, it's also about understanding that you control a 2-ton weapon," Mayor Ara Najarian said Tuesday night at the Glendale City Council meeting.

Ani Voskanian, 20, was charged after an investigation into the Sept. 15 accident that killed an 80-year-old Glendale man, Misak Ranjbar. Police say she was texting at the time she drove through a stop sign and killed Ranjbar in a crosswalk.

According to a statement by the L.A. County district attorney's office, Voskanian was charged Tuesday with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter. Bail was set at $50,000.

Voskanian was taken into custody at her home Tuesday morning, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz told the Glendale News Press.

"This is not one of those things in which you intended to go kill someone.... This is one those things that your actions carry serious consequences," Lorenz said.


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--Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Photo: Driver at the scene of the accident. Credit: Times Community News

Comments () | Archives (32)

Sorry, but I avoid Glendale all together when it comes to driving, shipping, eating, etc.

It is the most non-diverse city in the LA area - mostly Armenians. I've noticed that young Armenian men are very thoughtless while on the road.

don't know what you are talking about. Glendale is quite diverse and I like the fact that there are many Armenians. Except for a few bad characters that have called it home, (not Armenians), Glendale is pretty cool place to visit.


WOW. I am always really proud to be born and raised in LA ... until I read the LA Times comments. You embarrass yourself.

A lot of people text/talk and drive and it needs to STOP. It also has NOTHING to do with race or neighborhood.

Yes, Glendale is a truly horrible place.
But texting and driving anywhere should be treated the same as DUI - arrest, jail, criminal record - the works.

How stupid can you be to be texting while driving?

I have very little sympathy for this woman -- everytime I see someone talking on a handheld cell phone or texting while they are driving I just think that there goes one more idiot who is a danger to everyone else.

I hope the family of Mr. Ranjbar sues Ani Voskanian for everything she has (which probably isn't very much) and that she spends a lot of time in jail as just punishment for her incredible and tragic stupidity.

its not fair to single out the Armenians for the bad driving in Glendale. what is the city doing anyway? where is the police? what are the leaders in the community doing?

Katy, you're ridiculous. Armenians only make up about 20% of Glendale. There's a healthy Filipino American and Korean American population there as well.

I'm surprised tragedies like this don't happen more often in Glendale. I avoid the city at all costs.

it's not distracted driving, it's 'entitled' driving. Drivers in Glendale feel pedestrians, bicyclists and other driver drivers are not worthy of being on the road with them.

"This is not one of those things in which you intended to go kill someone.... This is one those things that your actions carry serious consequences," Lorenz said.

Really? Tell me, Sgt. Lorenz, how is texting while driving different from driving while intoxicated? In both cases the driver knows in advance that their actions might cause minor-to-fatal harm to others. This is not an accident; this is astounding negligence and indifference to the lives of others. And it is intentional. She didn't accidentally text, she intentionally texted.

What's amazing to me is that people who can't seem to wrap their brains around the importance of directing your attention to actually driving while behind the wheel instead of keeping up with the latest moves and thoughts of all of your friends, are deemed intelligent and mature enough to vote in elections. No wonder we're being led by more morons.

"its not fair to single out the Armenians for the bad driving in Glendale. what is the city doing anyway? where is the police? what are the leaders in the community doing?" -Belle

Surely you're not blaming this young woman's negligence on the police and community leaders?

Regarding Conando's comment it would be very interesting to find out of the 20% Armenian population you claim live in Glendale what percentage of accidents are caused by them as opposed to other ethnicities.

No, if you're texting while driving and you kill someone, that's murder. You know that what you are doing is putting other peoples lives in danger when you do it. When you get in a car and start driving and texting you are intentionally making your vehicle a dangerous weapon and it has consequences. Get off the phone or pull over. Nothing is that important that you have to drive and call/text at the same time.

The last cyclist killed was killed by an Armenian blowing through a stop sign. Glendale is one of the most dangerous cities to cycle. Young men doused with cologne speeding in the their bmw's or porsches. Many seemingly not following most traffic laws, like stopping at crosswalks, stops signs or lights.

Even Allstate lists Glendale as the number one city with the most traffic accidents per capita. Instead of the mayor just paying lip service, it's up to him to do a public awareness campaign in Armenian and english. Since he's Armenian it may be more effective than someone of another nationality. I hope he finally takes his city's distracted driving seriously and do something about it.

I have a friend who was in a serious accident involving an arminian women. The woman responsible for the accident had no insurance, and fled the scene of the accident. She was eventually caught, but had no CONCERN for the individual she almost killed. She hid from the law, and tried to avoid any responsiblity. Now I am not saying that all Arminians are like this but you only need to spend a day driving the streets of Glendale to see how badly people drive. Apparently they beleive that laws don't apply to them. And maybe the police in Glendale should stop providing favoritism to many of drivers on Glendale streets. Many drivers on the streets of Glendale live with their parents and drive expensive cars, but many times those cars are not even insured. The police need to do a better job. In lower income areas the police have used check points to make sure the cars are registered and have insurance, why not do it in Glendale?

Allstate Auto Insurance says Glendale ranks in third for having the country's worst drivers (according to their claims data).


"WOW. I am always really proud to be born and raised in LA ... until I read the LA Times comments. You embarrass yourself.

A lot of people text/talk and drive and it needs to STOP. It also has NOTHING to do with race or neighborhood.”

I agree with everything Ali posted. This is about distracted, irresponsible, driving that resulted in the death of an innocent person. Texting while driving is self-centered, all-about-me behavior. It’s not about race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.

I work for a group that is attempting to raise awareness about distracted driving. It is truly alarming how many people are texting while driving.

For those of you that call these drivers "stupid" and "idiotic", I have to agree with you. However, I think the problem is that these drivers feel as though they can do both safely. I know because I used to feel the same way. I thought I was a good enough driver to pay attention to both. Thank God I didn't hurt myself or, more importantly, someone else. Only after researching distracted driving more (while helping to produce a PSA) did I open my eyes and realize the startling statistics. I truly believe people feel like they are talented enough to handle both tasks.

Another problem is that it is easy to consider drunk drivers to be "bad" people or villians. But we hesitate to call texting drivers "bad" people because a lot of us have been guilty at one time or another most likely.

I'm not encouraging distracted driving - as I've said, I've given it up because I've realized how stupid and pointless it really is; no text is that important. But I don't believe these people truly don't care about others or they intended any harm, rather that they thought they could handle both and made a terrible, costly mistake.

My thoughts and prayers to Mr. Ranjbar's family.

katy hit on the head, i lived in glendale for 25 yrs, before the invasion, and i will be the first to back her statements up, by far, the worst drivers in glendale are armenian, what does this have to do with race u ask? nothing, it has to do with the city and the population. this is not the first time we hear about people getting runned down by armenians

Truly tragic and senseless. This woman's life will never be the same.

bdflatlander, when did you start walking on water???? It was a foolish, careless mistake that cost a life. But it was a mistake, nonetheless. She didn't intend to kill this man.

Um, if you're texting, who's driving?

Ani Voskanian murdered another human because of her careless actions. She deserves to go to prison.

Now, now. Enough singling ethnic groups out. I think we can all agree that the worst drivers by far are BMW drivers.

There ALL bad drivers in LA, except me of course.

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