Not guilty plea in crash that killed pedestrians - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Not guilty plea in crash that killed pedestrians

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This Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 booking photo released by the Redondo Beach Police Department shows Margo Bronstein, 56, a resident of Redondo Beach that has been arrested for felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Bronstein is suspected of hitting This Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 booking photo released by the Redondo Beach Police Department shows Margo Bronstein, 56, a resident of Redondo Beach that has been arrested for felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Bronstein is suspected of hitting

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — A woman charged with running her car into a crowd of pedestrians outside a California church appeared in court on a stretcher and pleaded not guilty.

Fifty-six-year-old Margo Bronstein entered the plea in a Torrance courtroom Friday to four felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence of a drug causing injury.

Four people including a 6-year-old boy died in the Wednesday night collision in Redondo Beach outside a church Christmas event.

Bronstein appeared in court handcuffed to the stretcher and attended by two paramedics.

A judge ordered her held on $500,000.

Bronstein's attorney Jeffrey Gray told the judge that the collision was an accident and argued for lower bail, but was refused.

This is a story update. For an earlier AP story, read below.

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — A woman was charged Friday with five felony counts for allegedly driving into a crowd outside a California church, killing four people including a 6-year-old boy.

Margo Bronstein, 56, is expected to be arraigned later in the day, said Ricardo Santiago with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. She was charged with four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence of a drug causing injury.

Five children and eight adults, including the suspect and the driver of another car, suffered injuries such as broken bones, abrasions and head trauma in the crash Wednesday night.

Authorities are investigating what led up to the woman driving through a red light and into nearly a dozen people as they left a church Christmas event in Redondo Beach. She also hit another vehicle head-on, authorities say.

Samuel Gaza, 6, died late Thursday at a hospital, according to Los Angeles County coroner's Lt. David Smith.

Three adults died earlier, including the boy's mother, Martha Gaza, 36; along with Mary Anne Wilson, 81; and Saeko Matsumura, 87, all of Torrance

Bronstein was arrested at the scene. Authorities said they believed she had taken prescription drugs but were awaiting the results of a toxicology test.

A message seeking comment left at a phone number listed for Bronstein was not immediately returned, and it wasn't immediately known if she has an attorney.

Officials said they do not have information linking her to any prior arrests or DUI-related incidents.

She had a perfect driving record but was restricted to driving a vehicle with hand-controlled brakes, an additional right-side mirror and adequate signaling device, according to Department of Motor Vehicle records.

The DMV had no record listing her as handicapped, however.

Friends and neighbors said she used crutches at times and a motorized wheelchair at longer distances, but they did not know why.

They said she is always friendly and deferential.

"She's very personable, very kind," Vanecia Wiley, a manager at the senior housing community where Bronstein lives, told the Los Angeles Times. "She doesn't want to be in anyone's way."

The pedestrians on Wednesday night had just attended a student Christmas program at St. James Catholic Church when the motorist sped around the other vehicles in a white Saturn sedan and plowed into the crowd before hitting another car head-on, police Lt. Shawn Freeman said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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