REDONDO BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Authorities have identified the driver suspected in an accident Wednesday night that killed three pedestrians on Pacific Coast Highway.
The accident happened around 8 p.m. at the intersection of PCH and Vincent Street in Redondo Beach, Redondo Beach police Sgt. Shawn Freeman said.
A group of 11 people were leaving a Christmas performance at St. James Catholic Church when they were hit by a white sedan, allegedly driven by 56-year-old Margo Bronstein, who is suspected of running a red light.
“The vehicle actually carried some of the pedestrians before colliding with another vehicle that was traveling southbound on Pacific Coast Highway,” Lt. Joe Hoffman said.
“I just saw the car come through, hit everybody here, people flying in the air,” witness Michael Tovar said.
Fire personnel treated eight adults, including Bronstein, and five children, ranging in age from 5 to 14, at the scene.
Nine victims were transported to hospitals by paramedics, and two people drove themselves, authorities said.
Injuries included leg fractures, head trauma, a bruised lung, a broken collarbone and minor cuts and bruises. Of the injured, two were hospitalized in critical condition, and eight were stable.
Hospital personnel late Thursday night confirmed that at least one of the young boys was in “extremely critical condition.” The identity of the child was not released.
Mary Wilson, 81, of Torrance died Wednesday night from her injuries, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said. Her family told CBS2/KCAL9’s Erica Nochlin that Wilson was at the Christmas pageant in support of her grandchildren.
Two additional Torrance residents, Saeko Matsumura, 87, and Martha Gaza, 36, passed away overnight.
Gaza’s husband and three children were among those injured. Of the children, their son Sammy was in a coma. His father and two sisters remain hospitalized.
Outside of the family’s Torrance home, a police officer said, “No one inside wants to be bothered.”
“It brings fear into all of our hearts for our children and grandchildren. We want to be able to protect them from this,” Stan Arnold, a good friend of the Gaza family, told CBS2/KCAL9’s Dave Lopez.
Bronstein, of Redondo Beach, was arrested on suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated after she was treated for minor injuries.
Police said she had prescription medication in her system at the time of the crash.
Friends told CBS2/KCAL9’s Kara Finnstrom she’s had a long-term disability and may have been influenced by her medications.
Neighbors said they had seen Bronstein use a walker and a wheelchair at times. Her car was also equipped with hand-operated breaks and special mirrors.
Three people who claim to know Bronstein described her to Lopez as a very kind, compassionate woman who did not drive often. They declined an on-camera interview.
She was being held at the Los Angeles County Jail on $300,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in a Torrance court Friday.
The intersection was closed until 3 a.m. for a joint investigation by Redondo Beach police and the California Highway Patrol.
Church services held Thursday at St. James Catholic Church were dedicated to the injured.
“They were our kids from our community. Kids who left the church singing, praising to God,” parishioner Anna Henki said.
Anyone with information or who may have witnessed the crash should call Redondo Beach police at (310) 318-0631.