A.S. senator survives motorcycle accident

Megan McFadden

The morning of Nov. 6 began as any other day for Associated Students Sen. Raffi Vartanian. He climbed on his Honda CBR 600 motorcycle just before 9:00 a.m. to arrive to class at 9:30 a.m.

But the morning in question would prove to be quite different as he left his Thousand Oaks home and entered the 118 East Freeway. Just after passing Rocky Peak, Vartanian was in the number two lane when he clipped the vehicle in front of him.

The contact sent Vartanian’s motorcycle to the pavement and ejected Vartanian. He slid across the 118 freeway for an estimated 250 yards before coming to a halt.

“I am lucky to be alive,” Vartanian, a 23-year-old graduating senior, said several times during a phone interview. “Someone was looking out for me.”

Vartanian said several people stopped to help him and keep him awake while the ambulance and the California Highway Patrol arrived.

A CHP report indicates Vartanian’s Honda was traveling at about 70 mph and the car that clipped him, a Ford F-150, was traveling at a slower speed in front of him. When Vartanian looked left to “prepare to change lanes,” he hit the F-150, the CHP report shows.

The end result has Vartanian temporarily using a wheelchair, as he sustained two broken ankles, a fractured leg, a broken right wrist, a dislocated left shoulder and numerous sprains. Vartanian’s recovery is expected to take six to eight weeks, but he won’t require surgery.

“I destroyed my ankles and toes,” Vartanian said. Vartanian’s jeans didn’t hold up well against the pavement and his knees were “grinded” almost to the bone.

Vartanian was taken to a nearby hospital, but he requested that he be released the same day to see his own physician.

Vartanian credits his helmet and motorcycle jacket for protecting the rest of his body.

While in the emergency room, Vartanian sent a text message to A.S. President Adam Haverstock informing his colleague that, “I am in the E.R. and won’t be able to make the (A.S. Senate) meeting.”

Haverstock said, “He is one of the most dedicated senators.”

Vartanian, a journalism major with a concentration in public relations, represents the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication on the Senate. Vartanian is also is the chair of the Public Relations Student Society of America at CSUN and vice president of the A.S. external affairs committee.

He has received a lot of support from family, students, faculty and the Department of Journalism, Vartanian said. Professors are allowing him to mail or e-mail remaining coursework so he can graduate this semester as planned, Vartanian said.

The Department of Journalism indicates it’s professor’s discretion to allow students to turn in coursework outside of class if incidents beyond their control prevent them from doing so.

Haverstock said as long as Vartanian attends weekly A.S. Senate meetings, he won’t be replaced as a senator.

Vartanian showed up for a portion of the California State Student Association meeting held at CSUN four days after his accident. Vartanian said everyone in A.S. showed him support and that he’d do the same.

Upper Division Sen. Alex Ross, 22, said, “He made the effort to call on Tuesday and showed up on Saturday.”

Vartanian had been riding his motorcycle for six years and said he’s had spills while canyon riding, but this is his first serious accident.

CHP West Valley Area Public Affairs Officer Leon Hines said the investigation is complete at this point.

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