Disney employee killed by car outside Burbank studio; driver arrested on suspicion of being intoxicated

Alcohol or drugs may have been a factor in a fatal traffic collision that took the life of a pedestrian Thursday morning outside of Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, police said.

The incident happened shortly after 9 a.m. when a woman, later identified as 54-year-old Michelle Landes of Los Angeles, was struck by a vehicle while using a marked crosswalk at Alameda Avenue and Lincoln Street. Landes, an executive assistant in Disney's legal department, was on her way to work at the time of the collision.


Sgt. Derek Green, a spokesman with the Burbank Police Department, said Landes was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

In the wake of the incident Disney CEO Bob Iger sent out an email to local employees informing them of what happened.

"We lost a valued Cast Member this morning in a tragic accident outside the Alameda Gate of the Disney lot," Iger said in the email obtained by the Burbank Leader. "A number of other Cast Members witnessed the tragedy, and are understandably very shaken by the experience."

He said the company has since reached out to Landes' family to offer its support.

"I know Michelle's friends and colleagues are stunned by this awful news, and we're all heartbroken by the loss," Iger said.

After striking Landes, the car went on to crash into three vehicles on the street, Green said. Responding officers detained two men who were in the vehicle.

It's suspected the two may have been under the influence at the time of the collision, according to Green.

Green said the driver, 37-year-old Stergios Economos of Burbank, was booked into the city's jail on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

He is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. His bail was initially set at $100,000 but was increased in part because of his criminal history, Green said.

The person riding with Economos was eventually released.