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Woman sentenced for striking, killing pedestrian while on cell phone

August 19, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

A 21-year-old Tujunga woman pleaded no contest Friday to striking and killing an 80-year-old Glendale man with her car last year while she was texting, officials said.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Patrick Hegarty ordered Ani Voskanian to serve three years formal probation, 300 hours of community service and to develop a lecture program for junior and high school students on the dangers of texting while driving, officials said.

Voskanian — who pleaded to a felony manslaughter charge for killing Misak Ranjbar — will not be allowed to possess a cell phone while inside a vehicle, officials said. Her license was also revoked for three years, her attorney said.

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“In this particular case, there is a tragic loss of a father of a family, on the other hand, another family could have lost their daughter,” said Glendale police Det. Ashraf Mankarios, who was the lead investigator in the case. “Although she will suffer the consequence as the result of this, in the end, both families came together, hugged and appear to be healing.”

Ranjbar’s son, Roger Ranjbar, also offered in court to go to the schools with Voskanian and lecture on the risk of texting while driving, Mankarios said.

Roger Ranjbar was also one of 20 people who wrote letters on Voskanian’s behalf in the hopes of reducing the felony charge to a misdemeanor before a scheduled preliminary hearing next week in Pasadena, her attorney Arthur Avazian said.

But in the end, Voskanian and her family opted to take the plea deal and avoid the risk of a jury finding her guilty, Avazian said.

Roger Ranjbar told Mankarios that the possibility of Voskanian going to jail for year appeared to be more of a punishment than a lesson.

Calls to Roger Ranjbar’s home went unreturned Friday.

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