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Officers Credit Valley Village Crash Victims With Saving Their Lives

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VALLEY VILLAGE (CBS2) —Two Good Samaritans who were electrocuted trying to help the driver of a car crash in Valley Village in August may have saved the lives of two police officers.

Arman Samsonian, 19, drove his SUV into a fire hydrant and light pole on Magnolia Boulevard on Aug. 22, which resulted in an electrically charged pool of water.

Irma Zamora, 40, and her husband were driving when they witnessed the crash.

Zamora’s husband called 911 while she ran out to help, but she was jolted to death as she stepped in the water.

Stacey Schreiber, 39, was killed when she tried to rescue Zamora.

Los Angeles Police Department officers Scott Moffitt and Alexis Bakas were headed south on the 170 freeway when they were dispatched to the crash.

It took a few minutes for them to get off the freeway and head back to Valley Village.

Those minutes, they said, were the difference between life and death.

“If me and my partner were one minute ahead, we would have been those victims,” said Moffitt. “Not for a second that I don’t think that could have very well been me. It’s an unfortunate situation. My heart bleeds for those people.”

When the officers finally arrived at the crash site, Bakas said he was haunted by what he saw.

“I just remember (Zamora’s) husband because he was on his knees…begging and pleading and crying to God… saying, ‘Please don’t take her,’” said Bakas.

Bakas was also one of six people who were injured by the electrified water.

“I didn’t feel anything at the time. Thirty seconds after, I felt pain in my leg…tingling. I wasn’t going to say anything. I wanted to make sure the victims were taken care of,” said Bakas.

The women, however, couldn’t be saved.

“It’s an absolute tragedy. I absolutely appreciate the fact that the victims put themselves at risk, (but) I don’t think they got themselves into what they bargained for. They had no idea,” said Moffitt.

Captain Peter Whittingham from the LAPD said, “It was the best of mankind and resulted in the worst tragedy. In a strange way, they took a bullet for us.”

The LAPD plans to honor Zamora and Schreiber posthumously for their bravery and citizenship.

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