Driver charged in deadly Redondo Beach crash


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 — Prosecutors have filed felony gross vehicular manslaughter charges against a suspected intoxicated driver who plowed into a crowd of people leaving a Christmas concert Wednesday night, killing four people, including a 6-year-old boy.

Margo Bronstein, 56, of Redondo Beach, has been charged with four felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one felony count of being under the influence of a drug, causing injuries, said Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, Los Angeles Times reported.

The criminal complaint against Bronstein also says she caused great bodily injury to Maria Quast; John Fasano; and Glenn, Angela and Maggie Gaza. The three Gazas — a man and his two daughters — were the surviving members of a five-member family struck by the car. Martha Gaza, 36, and 6-year-old son Samuel were killed.

This is the first time authorities have released the names of some of those grievously hurt in the incident.

Authorities said Bronstein was behind the wheel of the car that ran through a crowd outside St. James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach. Prosecutors allege she swerved around vehicles stopped at a red light before striking the crowd.

Bronstein, being held on $300,000 bail, is expected to appear in court Friday afternoon, Santiago said. But her arraignment may be postponed, he added.  Prosecutors have requested that bail be set at $500,000.

If convicted of the charges, she could face 40 years in state prison.

The youngest victim, Samuel Gaza, 6, died overnight Friday at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said Lt. David Smith of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. He suffered head trauma and a bruised lung.

Torrance residents Mary Ann Wilson, 81, and Saeko Matsumura, 87, also died in the crash. Eight others, including the three surviving members of the Gaza family, were hurt.

Redondo Beach police said they believed Bronstein was under the influence of prescription medication but have declined to say what type of drug. Police said results from a toxicology report were not available.

The criminal complaint did not make mention what type of drug Bronstein allegedly had used, Santiago said.

Bronstein, who friends said relied on a motorized wheelchair, had a clean driving history. She was restricted to driving a car with hand-controlled brakes, authorities said.

By Veronica Rocha of Los Angeles Times

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