Crash outside church kills 3, injures 10


Margo Bronstein, seen in this booking photo released by the Redondo Beach Police Department, was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

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LOS ANGELES - Police identified the alleged drunk driver in a crash outside a church in Redondo Beach that left three women dead and 10 others, including five children, injured.

Margo Bronstein, 56 of Redondo Beach, was arrested on suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, police said Thursday.   She was jailed after being treated at a local hospital for minor injuries.

The deadly collision occurred about 8 p.m. Wednesday when a white Saturn traveling northbound on Pacific Coast Highway ran a red light and plowed into a group of pedestrians as they were leaving an elementary school Christmas concert held at St. James Catholic Church, KTLA reported.

Vehicles were stopped at the light at Vincent Street when Bronstein went around them and into the left-turn lane and through the red light, said Redondo Beach police Lt. Joe Hoffman.

“People started flying,” said an emotional Michael Tovar, who witnessed the collision. “My wife started screaming. So, I jumped out of my truck and I came in front, and I’m looking at people everywhere, screaming."

After hitting a group of 11 pedestrians, the vehicle veered into southbound lanes on Pacific Coast Highway and collided head-on into an SUV, according to Hoffman.

“The vehicle actually carried some of the pedestrians and then collided head-on with another vehicle that was traveling southbound … and actually threw a couple of the pedestrians into another vehicle,” Hoffman said.

A young boy was trapped beneath the wheels of one of the cars, Tovar said.

“I looked down to the car right in front of me and underneath the left front tire was a little boy,” said Tovar, his voice choked with tears. “He was just laying there underneath the tire.”

He added that a group of people surrounding the car worked to free him as he lay pinned beneath the heavy vehicle.

“We finally got the car off of him. And then everyone started helping him. … It was just awful,” he said.

The little boy’s identity was not released, but his mother and grandmother were among the victims killed in the collision, according to Tovar, whose granddaughter was a classmate of the young victim. He said the boy’s father was also struck by the vehicle.

The three victims who died have been identified by Redondo Beach police as 81-year-old Mary Wilson, 87-year-old Saeko Matsumura and 36-year-old Martha Gaza, all from Torrance. All three were pedestrians, Hoffman said.

Gaza was a teacher at the church, the Los Angeles Times reported. Her son was critically injured in the crash, which also involved her husband and two other children, according to the newspaper.

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