Disney employee killed while crossing Burbank street near studio, suspects detained
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 64-year-old Michelle Landes of Los Angeles, was struck by a vehicle while using a marked crosswalk at Alameda Avenue and Lincoln Street, according to Sgt. Derek Green, a spokesman for the Burbank Police Department.
For the record:2:45 a.m. Feb. 9, 2023
An earlier version of this story stated that Michelle Landes was 54, based on information provided by Burbank police. She was 64.
Sept. 7: An earlier version of this story stated that the incident happened around 10 a.m. It happened shortly after 9 a.m.
Landes, an executive assistant in Disney’s legal department, was on her way to work at the time of the collision.
Green said Landes was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
In the wake of the incident, Disney chief executive Bob Iger sent out an email to local employees informing them about 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 other 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.
The driver, 37-year-old Stergios Economos of Burbank, was booked into the city’s jail for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, Green said .
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.
Alameda Avenue between Buena Vista and Keystone streets was closed for several hours as police processed the scene.
No other serious injuries were reported from the incident, which remains under investigation.
Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to contact Burbank police at (818) 238-3100.
7:04 p.m.: This article was updated with an increased figure for the bail amount.
4:54 p.m.: This article was updated with information on an arrest made in the collision.
4:20 p.m.: This article was updated with the woman’s identity and her place of employment.
This article was originally published at 1:15 p.m.