Family performed lamb sacrifice days before fatal accident

The family of a man whose body landed on a freeway sign during a car crash says they performed a lamb sacrifice for him days earlier for protection from harm.

Richard Pananian, 20, of Burbank had been battling serious health issues but overcame them, his cousin, Armen Kardashian, told the Los Angeles Times. He would not say what the health issues were.

This time, his family wasn't taking any chances and was determined to protect him, so they performed a matagh, or offering, on Oct. 25. Matagh is a tradition of the Armenian Church and often used to show appreciation to God for saving a life, asking for good health or for peace.

Pananians family hoped the offering of the lamb would provide some protection, his cousin said. On the family's GoFundMe page, where they are asking for relief and to help pay funeral expenses, they mentioned the ironic backstory:

"Richard comes from a Christian family that believes in God, and the family has done its best to follow the good book, and live in a righteous way. I myself have lost my faith and question the act of God if he exists. A week ago today on 10/25 the family had done what is called a "matag" or a lamb sacrifice for Richard to protect him from harm and evil. In the Armenian culture sacrifices are done when someone escapes death, as Richards life was once spared. I myself had sat in the car with Richard countless times, and he had a 5 point safety harness that he wore all the time! All the time!! It would be the first thing he did without a reminder. I find it ironic that 5 days after this offering to God, not only did God choose to take this young mans life, but decided to make such a spectacle out of it. If God works in mysterious ways his way remains a mystery to me and has crushed this family as a whole."

Five days later, last Friday, Pananian was headed to his new job at Glendale Collision Center. He was driving on southbound on the 5 Freeway just north of California 134 when his Ford Fiesta rear-ended a pickup truck and overturned, said California Highway Patrol Officer Edgar Figueroa. He was not wearing a seat belt, according to the CHP.

Pananian was ejected, propelled upward, and he landed on the Colorado Street freeway sign. Before the crash, the CHP received a call at 7 a.m. about the driver of a Ford Fiesta traveling recklessly, The Times reported.

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