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A California woman and nonprofit founder has been charged with murder three months after authorities say she struck and killed two young boys with her car and then fled the scene.
Rebecca Grossman, 57, has been charged with two felony counts of murder and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, as well as one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday. Grossman is alleged to have been driving recklessly in the Westlake Village area on Sept. 29, 2020, when she struck 11-year-old Mark Iskander and 8-year-old Jacob Iskander, brothers who were walking with their parents. She is alleged to have then fled the scene and did not stop until she was about a quarter mile away from the crash, according to prosecutors.
Grossman appeared in court on Wednesday, where she entered a not guilty plea, according to a Patch.com report. If convicted of all charges, Grossman faces a maximum of 34 years to life behind bars, prosecutors said.
The Iskander brothers were on a walk with their family when they were killed. Authorities said that after being struck, one of the children was carried on the hood of Grossman’s car for around 100 feet before she stopped the car, causing him to fall into the street; Grossman is alleged to have then run over the child as she fled the scene, local station KABC reported. One child died at the scene of the crash, while the other succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.
"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," Captain Salvador Becerra of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said, according to KABC.
Grossman was initially arrested for vehicular manslaughter, but was released from jail after posting $2 million bond.
Alcohol and street racing may have played a role in the collision, according to KABC. Authorities believe that she was racing a second vehicle just prior to the crash, the Simi Valley Acorn reports. That driver, whose name has not been made public, has reportedly been interviewed by police but has not been charged.
Grossman is the cofounder of the Grossman Burn Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to support burn victims and their families that she co-created alongside her husband, Dr. Peter H. Grossman. In a statement released on behalf of the Grossman Burn Center, West Hills Hospital offered their condolences, CBS Los Angeles reports.
“Like our entire community, the Grossman Burn Center family at West Hills Hospital is terribly saddened by this tragedy,” that statement reads. “Our sympathies are with all who have been affected.”
A memorial was held for the boys on Oct. 7 at their school, Ascension Lutheran School in Thousand Oaks, drawing a crowd of around 600 people, the Thousand Oaks Acorn reports. The boys’ father, Karim Iskander, remembered his sons fondly while speaking to the crowd.
“They were truly, truly awesome kids. I was very proud of them. When they were little, I thought it was my job to teach them but especially in the last year I think it was the opposite. I learned from them more,” he said. “Mark had the sweetest heart ever. He would spread sincere appreciation and laughter. Jacob was the coolest boy ever. He stands tall, he speaks with confidence. He had a strong personality, strong muscles, and strong faith.”
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