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Christmas concert crash: Driver pleads not guilty to five felony counts

A Redondo Beach woman accused of felony gross vehicular manslaughter for allegedly plowing into a crowd of people leaving a Christmas concert Wednesday night, killing four people, including a 6-year-old boy, has pleaded not guilty.

Margo Bronstein, 56, of Redondo Beach, was wheeled into a Torrance courtroom on a stretcher and arraigned Friday on four felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one felony count of being under the influence of a drug, causing injuries.

She’s due back in court Jan. 14 and is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

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 hurt in the incident....

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3 killed, 3 injured in I-15 crash near Escondido

At least three people died and three others were injured Friday in a collision on the 15 Freeway near Escondido, authorities said.

Just after 12 p.m., a black sport utility vehicle rolled over from the southbound to the northbound side of the 15 Freeway just north of the Old Highway 395 exit, California Highway Patrol Officer Brandon Reynolds said.

Three people died at the scene and three others, including an infant, were transported to a hospital, said Capt. Kendal Bortisser of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Up to three vehicles were involved in the crash.

The CHP briefly shut down traffic in both directions, but reopened the northbound side by 1:30 p.m. All but one of the lanes on the southbound side have been reopened, snarling afternoon traffic.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno. He can be reached at matt.hamilton@latimes.com.

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Police arrest man in death of Anaheim bicyclist, who was mother of 8

The driver who hit a bicyclist, the mother of eight, and then fled has been tracked down and arrested, police say.

Daniella Palacios, 44, of Anaheim, died the day after she was struck by a car while riding a bicycle in Anaheim.

Junior Rigoberto Lopez, 30, has been arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run in the Nov. 1 crash, said Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn.

Anaheim police had been searching for the Buena Park man for more than a month when they received a call on the Orange County Crime Stoppers line that led them to Lopez, he said.

Police told Lopez to come in to the police department because they had questions about the crash. Before he could walk through the doors, he was placed under arrest.

Police said Palacios, who has eight children, was riding her bicycle at about 9:10 p.m. near La Palma and Magnolia avenues when she was struck by Lopez's pickup truck.

After hitting Palacios, Lopez continued driving and fled the scene, police said.

Soon after the crash, police released...

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Bell Gardens mayor dragged wife by hair, autopsy report says

An autopsy report conducted on Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo provided new details Friday about allegations that he abused his wife who shot him three times in the chest at close range during a confrontation earlier this year.

Crespo's adult daughter, Crystal, told investigators that the mayor was "verbally and physically abusive to her mother over 20 years," the coroner's report said. That abuse, she said, had become more physical in the last two years and her parents argued over his infidelity.

"The decedent and his wife were not sleeping in the same bedroom and he was known to drag her by the hair to force her to do so," the report said.

Crespo's daughter said the abuse incidents did not leave her mother with serious injuries and the abuse had never been reported, the document said.

"The decedent had threatened to kill her and the children if she attempted to report the abuse," the coroner's investigator's notes added. "The decedent's mistress had reportedly begun making annoying...

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Holiday travel hits new high: More than 6 million to drive in SoCal

More than 12 million Californians will hit the road or head to the airport for the holidays this year, part of a nationwide holiday travel surge not seen since at least 2001, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Thanks to reduced gas prices, unemployment and an uptick in household net worth, more than 94.8 million people are expected to travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 4, AAA said in a news release. That’s a 4% increase from last year and a record since the company began keeping track in 2001.

Within the national estimates, California residents make up a large portion of that total. An estimated 12.2 million Californians are expected to travel, more than 10.8 million of them by car, AAA said.

Here are the stats for the Southland:

-- 6.72 million will drive, a 3.4% increase from 2013

-- 597,000 will fly, a 0.5% increase from 2013.

This also will be the first year since 2009 that the average cost of a gallon of gas is less than $3 in Southern California, AAA said....

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Formerly homeless, he now delivers 'survival kits' to those on streets

Twice a year, Los Angeles' homeless get a backpack that can make living on the streets a little more bearable. Blanket, Band-Aids, socks, sunblock, water, wool cap. Those are just a few of the things in the pack. 

Ezzie Richey remembers when the backpack was dropped at his feet. Someone said, "Here, take this."

It was at a bad time in his life. “I had given up,” said the Army veteran. “I didn’t even care anymore. I didn’t see it working. And then I started asking myself, 'Why am I still here?' "

Richey mindlessly shrugged the pack on and began to walk away. “Why don’t you open the backpack up and see what’s in it?” someone asked.

So he did. Turns out, the most important thing Richey found inside was hope.

An Alabama native, Richey relocated to Los Angeles in 1998 to start fresh. He was desperately trying to move past the deaths of several family members, including hismother, that had left him emotionally shattered. “I’d never really gotten over [it],” said the silver-haired man with a...

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