A woman accused of running a red light and plowing through a group of pedestrians crossing Pacific Coast Highway—killing four people and injuring eight others—must stand trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Margo Bronstein, 56, is charged with four felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one felony count of being under the influence of a drug and causing injuries in connection with the deaths of Torrance residents Martha Gaza, 36; Samuel Gaza, 6; Mary Ann Wilson, 81; and Saeko Matsumura, 87, following the Dec. 17 crash.
Other members of the Gaza family were injured in the crash, authorities said. The pedestrians were leaving a Christmas concert at St. James Church, located at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Vincent Street, when the crash occurred.
Bronstein’s white Saturn veered into the northbound left-turn lane on Pacific Coast Highway to avoid traffic stopped at the light, drove through the intersection, hit the pedestrians and collided head-on with a car in the southbound left-turn lane on the other side of the intersection, police said. Bronstein was injured in the crash.
At Tuesday’s hearing, a Redondo Beach Police Department officer testified that Bronstein told authorities she had taken painkillers that day, according to reporter Larry Altman of the Daily Breeze. In addition, the officer said that she “appeared sleepy and confused and had bloodshot eyes” and a container with Soma pills and Norco tablets was in her possession, Altman reported.
According to multiple media reports, Bronstein had a clean driving record; however, she was required to have a vehicle with a right side-view mirror and hand-operated brakes. Her Facebook page shows several photos of Brostein in an electric wheelchair.
Bronstein’s arraignment is set for Feb. 10. If convicted on all charges, she faces up to 40 years in prison.