L.A. County hit-and-run kills 3 pedestrians

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- A possible hit-and-run driver struck roughly 12 pedestrians Wednesday night in a Redondo Beach intersection, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Police say the female motorist, who police identified as Margo Bronstein, 56, of Redondo Beach, drove into a group of people that had just attended a Christmas program at St. James Catholic Church put on by students at the church's school.

Margo Bronstein, 56, is seen in an undated booking picture provided by the Redondo Beach Police Department in California.
Margo Bronstein, 56, is seen in an undated booking picture provided by the Redondo Beach Police Department in California. Redondo Beach Police Department

Three people, Mary Anne Wilson, 81; Saeko Matsumura, 87; and Martha Gaza, 36, all of Torrance, died from their injuries, police said.

Five children and eight adults, including the suspect and the other driver, suffered injuries including broken bones, abrasions and head trauma, said Redondo Beach police Lt. Joe Hoffman.

At least two people remained in critical condition Thursday morning Hoffman said.

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Mary Wilson and Saeko Matsumura were killed in a hit-and-run auto crash in Redondo Beach, Calif., Wednesday night. CBS Los Angeles / California DMV

Hoffman says the woman was driving on Pacific Coast Highway when she ran a red light, hit the pedestrians, and then another vehicle. The fronts and windshields of both vehicles were smashed.

"The vehicle actually carried some of the pedestrians before colliding with another vehicle that was traveling southbound on Pacific Coast Highway," said Hoffman.

"I just saw the car come through, hit everybody here, people flying in the air," witness Michael Tovar said.

Alan Wells, who lives in the apartment building at the corner, heard the crash and ran outside.

"I saw people lying all over the street, and people in the crosswalk were screaming and yelling," he told the Daily Breeze.

Bronstein was arrested on charges of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter, CBS Los Angeles says. Police took her to a hospital. It was unclear whether she was hurt.

"At the very minimum, prescription medication is involved," Hoffman said.

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Firefighters work on a victim at left after a driver suspected of being intoxicated hit a group of pedestrians and another car outside a church as a Christmas service ended in the Los Angeles suburb of Redondo Beach, Calif., Dec. 17, 2014. AP / Mark Milutin

She was being held at the LA County Jail on $300,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in a Torrance court Friday.

The L.A. Archdiocese issued a statement saying in part, "The community of St. James Catholic Church and School in Redondo Beach, and the entire Archdiocese of Los Angeles, ask everyone to join them in prayer during this time of tragedy and grief."

St. James Msgr. Michael Meyers said church officials led prayers at the scene.

"Nobody knew the condition of any of the victims so we simply went and prayed for each one and prayed over them and anointed them and just asked God's grace to be with them," Meyers said.

The crash comes three days after another driver now charged with drunken driving injured 11 people who were parked and looking at a holiday light display in the Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra.