Second child dies after motorist hits 2 boys in Westlake Village

A map shows the location of the accident
People place flowers at a growing memorial for two brothers who were fatally injured while crossing Triunfo Canyon Road at Saddle Mountain Drive in Westlake Village.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A second child has died after being struck by a vehicle Tuesday night in Westlake Village, and authorities have arrested the driver in the fatal crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.

Two boys were crossing the street near Triunfo Canyon Road and Saddle Mountain Drive around 7:10 p.m. when a motorist struck them, immediately killing one. The other child was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a few hours later, according to a post on the Sheriff’s Department Facebook page.

According to Fox 11 News, the children were brothers, ages 9 and 11. Authorities have not identified the boys.

Video from the scene shows a scooter in the street, a helmet and rollerblades on a sidewalk near the crash site and a white Mercedes with front-end damage.


A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department photo shows the vehicle involved in the fatal crash.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

Rebecca Grossman, 57, has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter in connection with the fatal crash, and her bail was set at $2 million, authorities said.

Capt. Salvador Becerra said sheriff’s officials think speed and alcohol were factors in the crash, and they were investigating the possibility that Grossman might have left the scene.

Multiple media outlets reported that the driver was the same Rebecca Grossman who is listed as a founding board member of the nearby Grossman Burn Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Grossman Burn Centers Inc., which treats burn victims around the world.

Samira Steventon comforts her 12-year-old son, Matthew, before placing flowers at a growing memorial for two brothers who were fatally injured in Westlake Village.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

According to the foundation’s website, Grossman’s husband, Dr. Peter Grossman, is a plastic surgeon who performs reconstructive surgeries on burn victims. A mother of two, Rebecca Grossman has accrued numerous honors for her work in human rights, domestic violence prevention and other humanitarian efforts, including the American Heart Assn.’s “Woman of the Year” award in 2007, according to the website.

There was no immediate comment from the Grossman Burn Foundation.


A Rebecca Grossman also was listed as a past publisher and editorial director of Westlake Magazine, but by midafternoon, her name had been removed from the publication’s website. Her LinkedIn page shows she is CEO of Powerhouse Lux Media, publisher of Westlake Magazine, as well as West Luxury and Paragon Healthy Lifestyles magazines, which she founded in 2016.

Sheriff’s officials said that at the time of the crash, six family members were crossing the three-way intersection — which does not have a stoplight — in a marked crosswalk when the mother heard a car speeding toward them. Both parents reached out to stop their children, but the two boys were too far into the intersection and were struck by the car.

Samira Steventon
Samira and Matthew Steventon after placing flowers at the memorial.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Neighbors say the area has a problem with people driving too fast on that stretch of road. Carlo Ohanian, 72, walked over to the intersection when he heard the commotion of emergency response vehicles. As a nearly 40-year resident of the neighborhood, he said he has watched cars fly through the intersection. He suggested installing a pedestrian light.

“It’s a very dangerous crosswalk. The cars don’t stop,” Ohanian said. “All the cars just drive very, very fast.”

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Westlake Village called the crash devastating and said the city’s government “shares the community’s concerns over unsafe driving and will continue to take necessary and appropriate measures” to keep residents safe.

The crash is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station at (818) 878-1808.

A cyclist
A cyclist rides by the scene of a fatal accident in Westlake Village.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Times staff writer Matthew Ormseth and City News Service contributed to this report.