City Offers Reward as It Seeks Hit-Run Driver

First published in the Oct. 16 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

The city of Glendale has offered a $25,000 reward for help in identifying the motorist whose vehicle struck a local man this month, leaving him with devastating injuries in the street before speeding off.
Krikor Kassabian, 44, was hit at 12:09 a.m. Friday, Oct. 1, as he crossed East Chevy Chase Drive near Glenoaks Boulevard. Kassabian remains hospitalized after undergoing three surgeries, and his family said there is no timeline for his release.
The impact necessitated the amputation of his right arm, shattered both of his legs and fractured his spine. Kassabian’s wife, Christina, found him unresponsive in the street.
“She had to witness the horrific aftermath of her husband’s mangled body in the street,” Kassabian’s sister, Lisa, said at a news conference Thursday. “It is a miracle that my brother is still alive, but he will never be the same. None of us ever will.”
The motorist is believed to have been driving at about 60 mph on the residential street. Police said high speeds there are, unfortunately, not uncommon because of how the street leads down from Chevy Chase Canyon.
Debris from the scene leads authorities to believe the motorist was driving a 2019 or 2020 silver or gray Kia Forte sedan, which would now have significant damage to its front bumper and hood and likely its windshield.
“There was a lot of glass on the scene,” said Detective Emmanuel Flores, who is leading the investigation for the Glendale Police Department.
The news conference, where the GPD announced its reward, also gave family members a chance to plead with possible witnesses to offer any help they can and for the motorist to turn themself in. The family showed several large photos of Krikor and Christina holding their 2-year-old daughter, Kelly, and their pet dog.
“Please do the right thing,” Lisa Kassabian said. “Come out of hiding and do the right thing. The authorities will find you, but it will be better for you in the long run if you come forward and take responsibility.
“Someone listening right now knows something,” she added. “What if it was your family? Your loved one? What would you expect of your neighbors? Please, someone, help us.”
“Whether it’s minor or major,” Flores said, “anything helps.”
Mayor Paula Devine, responding to a query about the city’s policing of motorists who speed or race, observed that incident numbers have been reduced over time through aggressive policing and traffic engineering but that clearly more work needed to be done.
“This is another red-flag moment where we have to look at where we’re doing,” she said. “Our residents are No. 1 and we don’t want to be here again.”
To help pay for the various surgeries, physical therapy and other care for Krikor Kassabian, the family has set up a GoFundMe account. As of the News-Press’ publication time on Friday, the page had generated more than $55,000 toward a goal of $75,000 from more than 220 donors.
“You have all helped provide my family light through this darkness,” Lisa Kassabian said.