Lamb Sacrificed to Protect Man Who Died on Freeway Sign

Freeway death (Associated Press)
Associated Press

The family of a man who died in a crash that ejected his body onto a Los Angeles freeway sign last week performed a lamb sacrifice (known as matagh in Armenian) to protect him from harm just days before.

Rescue crews had to use a ladder to remove his body from the sign.

Richard Pananian, 20, of Burbank was driving southbound on the I-5 Freeway on Friday morning en route to his new job at the Glendale Collision Center whee his Ford Fiesta rear-ended a pickup truck and was overturned. According to the Los Angeles Times, Pananian was not wearing a seat belt, which friends and relatives say is atypical of him.

His body was ejected from the car and landed on the Colorado Street freeway sign. Pananian had reportedly been battling serious health issues but overcame them, his cousin Armen Kardashian said, declining to provide details. “He wasn’t supposed to go out this way… the family is grieving and it’s really painful,” Kardashian told the local CBS News affiliate in Los Angeles. His cousin said he was unfortunately careless in his driving.

The sacrifice of a lamb or rooster is a tradition in many parts of Armenian Christian society as a symbolic way to bring positivity and release negativity from a situation in hopes of offering protection. It is a practice that stems from Biblical times. Armenian Christians also conduct similar sacrifices on the anniversary of Armenian genocide each year.

The Times reports that shortly before the crash, CHP had received a call about the driver of a Ford Fiesta traveling recklessly.

Pananian is survived by a mother, father and older brother.

His family has started a GoFundMe page to help raise money to assist them with “many unexpected financial burdens.” Almost $18,000 has been raised so far.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.