REDONDO BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A community was in mourning Friday night after four pedestrians, including a 6-year-old boy, died as a result of a traffic collision in Redondo Beach.
The deadly collision claimed the lives of Torrance residents Mary Wilson, 81; Saeko Matsumura, 87; Martha Gaza, 36, and her son Samuel.READ MORE: Mobley Leads No. 20 USC To 93-73 Victory Over Utah
The four victims were among several who were struck near St. James Catholic Church on Pacific Coast Highway on Dec. 17. Nine of the victims, including 4 children, remained hospitalized.
At the crash site, a still-growing memorial was visible while a private candlelight vigil was held Friday evening at St. James Catholic School, where Samuel Gaza had attended.
Churchgoers told KCAL9’s Erica Nochlin they were praying for Gaza’s father, Glen, and his two daughters.
“It’s just so heart-wrenching that this had to happen,” said Kim Russell, a family friend. “Everyone is so torn. Everyone wants to help and that’s what’s so great about this community. We’re going to get through this and we’ll get through this together.”
Meanwhile, the driver suspected in the crash, identified as 56-year-old Margo Bronstein, pleaded not guilty to four counts of felony vehicular manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence and causing bodily injury.READ MORE: Anaheim Ducks Hold Off Vegas Golden Knights For Wild 6-5 Win
“My biggest concern as a defense attorney it appears that everybody is jumping to conclusions about this case,” said Jeffrey Gray, Bronstein’s attorney. “We have no toxicology level. We have no blood-alcohol level. We know that Ms. Bronstein is an individual who does not live her live recklessly.”
Bronstein’s bail was raised to $500,000. She is due back in court Jan. 14. If convicted as charged, she faces about 40 years in prison.
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