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DUI suspect claims victim's bad parking led to fatal accident

June 25, 2011 |  9:10 am

An attorney for a Burbank man charged with striking and killing a prominent local doctor argued in court Friday that the victim was dangerously close to traffic at the time that he was hit.

A family practitioner and a married father of three, Jacob Orphali, 61, was making a house call on Oct. 12 when he was struck. The driver, 29-year-old Edmond Grigoryan, was charged with one felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter on suspicion of driving under the influence of a controlled substance and striking and killing Orphali with his car.

During the preliminary hearing on Friday, Grigoryan’s attorney, Alex Kessel, said Orphali had parked his car more than 18 inches from the curb, leaving him vulnerable as he exited and stepped into the two-lane street. Kessel also cited Glendale Police Officer Lynette Salazar’s report in which she attributed the cause of the collision to Orphali opening the car door before it was reasonably safe to do so, according to the Glendale News-Press.

Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Melanie Buccat asked Salazar to describe Grigoryan’s demeanor on Oct. 12. “He appeared very sleepy, his eyes were droopy,” Salazar said. “He was slow to respond. I had to repeatedly repeat my questions. Based on the observations, I suspected he may be under the influence.”

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-- Megan O'Neil, Times Community News

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