REDONDO BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Authorities say a woman has pleaded not guilty in connection with a deadly crash in Redondo Beach in which four people were killed and several others were injured.
Margo Bronstein entered her plea during her arraignment Friday while handcuffed to a stretcher and escorted by her attorney and two paramedics.
The Los Angeles County Fistrict Attorney's Office charged the 56-year-old with four counts of felony vehicular manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence and causing bodily injury in connection with the Dec. 17 crash.
Bronstein is suspected of driving while under the influence of prescription medication.
Bronstein is accused of swerving around vehicles stopped at a red light and allegedly hitting a group of pedestrians leaving a Christmas performance at St. James Catholic Church around 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Mary Wilson, 81; Saeko Matsumura, 87; Martha Gaza, 36, and her son Samuel, 6, were killed in the crash. Nine others were hospitalized, including four children ranging in age from 5 to 14.
Samuel Gaza, who had sung in the Christmas show, was dragged by Bronstein's car in the accident and suffered a bruised lung and head trauma, authorites said. His father and two sisters were also among those injured.
Of victims hospitalized, two adults and one child were stable, and six others have been treated and released, police said.
Bronstein had also sustained injuries, including broken ribs and internal injuries.
Outside court, her attorney Jeff Gray stated: "My concern is there tends to be a lot almost a mob mentality about this case. It's a tragedy. It's not fair to Ms. Bronstein. It's not fair to the decedents' families."
Friends of Bronstein said the Redondo Beach resident suffered from a long-term disability and used a walker or wheelchair at times. Her car was equipped with hand-operated breaks and special mirrors.
While Bronstein's attorney wouldn't address whether she over-medicated, Gray said she doesn't drink and further stated that there could have been a problem with her brakes, which were specially made.
Bronstein's bail was raised to $500,000. She is due back in court Jan. 14. If convicted as charged, she faces about 40 years in prison.
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