Driver sentenced after pleading no contest in deadly Christmas concert crash
A Redondo Beach woman was sentenced Tuesday after pleading no contest to driving her car into a crowd of people leaving a Christmas concert, killing four, including a 6-year-old boy.
After entering her plea, Judge Laura Priver sentenced Margo Bronstein, 57, to three years and four months in custody to four felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter in the Dec. 17, 2014 crash, according to Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. She received credit for 1,105 days in custody.
“Several of the family members of victims spoke and objected to the indicated sentence,” she said.
Bronstein offered an open plea to the court, Robison said. Prosecutors did not offer a plea bargain, and had objected to the lower sentence. Prosecutors were seeking eight years in state prison, she said.
According to prosecutors, Bronstein swerved around vehicles stopped at red light near Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach, then crossed the light and drove into a group of people leaving a Christmas concert at St. James Catholic Church.
Still carrying pedestrians on her car, Bronstein continued driving and headed onto the southbound lanes of PCH, where she collided head-on with another vehicle, police said.
Mary Ann Wilson, 81; and Saeko Matsumura, 87; and Martha Gaza, 36, and her 6-year-old son, Samuel, were killed in the crash. Eight others were injured.
The Gaza family of five, along with Wilson and Matsumura, both grandmothers, were part of a crowd that had gone to the church to take part in and watch a Christmas concert.
Bronstein was originally charged with driving while under the influence of prescription medication. But Robison confirmed that toxicology tests later determined the medication was not a factor in the deadly incident.
According to Department of Motor Vehicles records, Bronstein had a clean driving history. She did, however, have specific driving restrictions, including having to use hand-controlled brakes. She also was required to drive a vehicle with an additional right-side mirror.
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