First published in the Feb. 12, 2022, print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
Police last week arrested a 19-year-old man they believe struck and significantly injured a Glendale man in October while he was crossing East Chevy Chase Drive.
Frunzik Sargsyan, of North Hollywood, bonded out of custody on $75,000 after being arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run on Thursday, Feb. 3, according to the Glendale Police Department. Sargsyan was arrested by the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force after being stopped in a stolen vehicle in North Hollywood, GPD said. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is now weighing the felony hit-and-run charges, as well as two unrelated outstanding warrants with the Glendale Police Department for felony evading, against him.
The fugitive task force is a function of the U.S. Marshal’s Service and includes other members of police departments, including two from GPD.
“They’ve been really successful for us,” said Sgt. Christian Hauptmann, a spokesman for GPD. “They’re really good at locating people, especially when we have a person identified. We can put them on the case and they can track them down pretty quickly.”
Sargsyan is alleged to have collided with a Glendale man, 44-year-old Krikor Kassabian, at 12:09 a.m. Friday, Oct. 1, while Kassabian was crossing East Chevy Chase Drive near its intersection with Glenoaks Boulevard. Police said Kassabian was thrown or carried by the collision for about 250 feet, leaving him significantly injured with both legs shattered and a fracture to his spine. He required multiple surgeries, including a right arm amputation, at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.
At the time, investigators had determined from debris at the scene that the motorist was driving a silver 2019 or 2020 Kia Forte sedan and had been traveling at around 60 mph when it collided with Kassabian in a residential street.
Although he declined to get into more details, Hauptmann said the Kia Forte from this collision was last seen by authorities entering Mexico, repaired, on Nov. 1. It has yet to be located again. Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Sargsyan on Thursday, Jan. 27, and made their arrest a week later. Although the city offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, Hauptmann said no tips ever came forward and credited detectives for their work.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the stolen vehicle Sargsyan was arrested with, Hauptmann added.
Kassabian’s family said he finally returned home last week and is transitioning to home-based physical therapy and rehabilitation. His recovery efforts while hospitalized have him slowly regaining motor functions and he has begun to learn how to walk again.
“It’s going to be day-by-day,” said Lisa Kassabian, Krikor’s younger sister. “He’s doing better than we initially expected. Doctors told us initially that he is not going to have motor functions beyond [where the fracture is]. It’s been very much better than that.”
Lisa Kassabian said their family has been “overwhelmed” by the support of doctors, the police department and others within the community since the tragic collision, and noted that the road to recovery would have been much harder without that support. She added that there were many sighs of relief when police announced an arrest in the case.
“We pretty much were told it was a 50-50 shot, so for them to find a person and be able to make an arrest, it’s a step in the right direction,” she said. “We can start going down the road of making sure a person is accountable for what they’ve done.”
A GoFundMe account, located at gofundme.com/f/help-gregs-family-with-recovery, has garnered more than $67,000 in donations to help the family with the recovery.
For now, Lisa Kassabian said being back home has been a panacea for everyone. She said her brother missed his daughter’s third birthday while he was hospitalized, and that everyone is already making up for the lost time.
“For the first time, I’ve seen joy in his face and their faces now that they’re together,” Lisa Kassabian said. “It’s been gone for a long period of time, ever since he was injured.”