A 57-year-old woman who drove into a group of pedestrians leaving a Christmas concert at a Redondo Beach church, killing four of them, pleaded no contest on Tuesday to four counts of vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to three years and four months behind bars.
Margo Julie Bronstein was given time-served credit of 1,105 days, making
it unclear how much longer she would be in custody.
Bronstein was originally accused of being under the influence of prescription medication at the time of the Dec. 17, 2014, crash, but attorneys said on Tuesday that toxicology tests determined medication was not a factor.
In court, she pleaded no contest to the four counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence -- without any pre-arranged plea agreement
with prosecutors -- and could have received up to 10 years behind bars.
Local news from across Southern California
According to police, Bronstein ran a red light around 8 p.m. Dec. 17, 2014, and plowed into a group of pedestrians who had just attended a Christmas concert at St. James Catholic School and Parish near Pacific Coast Highway and Vincent Street in Redondo Beach.
The group was walking across PCH when they were struck by the northbound
white Saturn. Bronstein continued through the intersection, swerved into the
southbound lanes and slammed into another vehicle -- all while dragging 6-year-old Samuel Gaza, a kindergartner at the church school. He wound up pinned under a front tire of Bronstein's car.
Also killed were Samuel's mother, 36-year-old Martha Gaza, and Mary Wilson, 81, and Saeko Matsumura, 87, all of Torrance.
A defense attorney said Bronstein had been suffering from spinal
problems, and experienced an explosion of blinding pain while driving, causing
her to strike the group of pedestrians.