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A Los Angeles socialite, known for her philanthropic work involving burn victims, has been accused of fatally striking two young brothers while driving drunk.
Rebecca Grossman, 57, is facing two counts of vehicular manslaughter after allegedly hitting brothers’ Jacob and Mark Iskander in Westlake Village, according to NBC affiliate KNBC.
The boys, aged 9 and 11, respectively, were struck by a car as they attempted to cross the street with their family shortly after 7 p.m. on Sept. 29, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. One of the children was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The other brother died in the hospital hours later.
"The children were walking with their family. It is a very tragic situation. The mother and father were able to pull the other two children back in time, and the vehicle struck the two other children," Capt. Salvador Becerra of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said, KABC reported.
The boys' mother, who was pushing a baby in a stroller at the time, managed to yank a third child off a scooter as two cars came speeding toward the crosswalk, law enforcement said.
“The family was in a marked crosswalk,” Becerra said, KCAL-TV reported. “As [their mother] realized two cars were speeding her way, she was able to reach out and grab one of her children off of a Razor scooter, with another child in the stroller as the car entered the intersection and hit the other two.”
Grossman, whose white Mercedes was found approximately half a mile from the location of the fatal crash, is accused of fleeing the scene, according to Los Angeles Magazine. Her car reportedly had visible front-end damage. Authorities are still searching for the driver of the second vehicle involved.
A vigil was held for the Iskander brothers last week. Several toys and flowers have since been scattered at the scene of the crash.
Mark Iskander, who had only begun classes at Oaks Christian School mere weeks ago, was mourned by school officials who were just getting to know him.
“He was just the most bubbly, lovely young man,” principal Garett Freeman told KCAL-TV. “It’s really hard to fathom that he’s gone.”
Grossman, along with her husband Dr. Peter H. Grossman, founded the Grossman Burn Foundation, which touted itself as a “pioneer” in burn victim treatment. The 57-year-old, who is the former publisher of Westlake Magazine, is also known for her international humanitarian work, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
“Like our entire community, the Grossman Burn Center family at West Hills Hospital is terribly saddened by this tragedy,” West Hills Hospital said in a statement on behalf of the Grossman Burn Center, according to KCAL-TV. “Our sympathies are with all who have been affected.”
Grossman pleaded not guilty in the alleged drunk driving incident and was released late last week after posting a $2 million dollar bail, the CBS affiliate also reported. Her next court date is scheduled for Oct. 21, according to online jail records.
Authorities are urging anyone who may have witnessed the collision or who may have information regarding the identity and whereabouts of the suspected second driver is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at 818-878-1808.
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