Margo Bronstein, the driver who infamously drove her car into a crowd of people outside a Christmas concert and left four dead in Redondo Beach, was sentenced to three years and four months in custody last week. Bronstein was convicted of four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, and received credit for 1,105 days in custody.
Bronstein had taken both prescription painkillers and muscle relaxers on December 17th, 2014, before driving her car into a group of people standing outside St. James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach. According to prosecutors at trial, Bronstein swerved around stopped vehicles at a red light before hitting pedestrians outside the church.
The four killed included Mary Ann Wilson, 81, Saeko Matsumura, 87, Martha Gaza, 36, and Martha's six-year-old son Samuel. Samuel originally was in critical condition after being pulled from under the tire of the vehicle, but died at the hospital the next day. The collision left eight additional people injured.
Bronstein was charged with four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one count of driving under the combined influence of a drug causing injury. Bronstein had driving-related restrictions on her license, including one that required the use of hand-controlled brakes. Bronstein's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Ken Erlich, stated that Bronstein felt extreme pain in her spine as she drove, which caused her to run the red light.
Bronstein pleaded no contest to four counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence - prosecutors dropped the drunk driving charges because medical tests showed Bronstein was not under the influence as first believed. After the crash, Bronstein surrendered 13 Soma pills, nine Norco tablets and five unknown pills to police officers but drug tests determined the medication in her blood did not meet legal m inimums for intoxication.
Family members and friends of the victims were present in court, and urged the judge to sentence Bronstein to ten years. Bronstein was unable to speak at trial, according to her attorney. The judge weighed Bronstein's explanation along with her lack of a criminal record in deciding upon the length of the sentence, giving Bronstein credit for 1,105 days served and good-behavior credit.