Child becomes fourth to die from California crash outside church

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 19, 2014 1:20 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 6-year-old boy has become the fourth person to die from a crash earlier this week that saw a driver plow into a group of pedestrians leaving a church in Southern California, a coroner's official said on Friday.

Samuel Gaza, who was hospitalized with head trauma and a bruised lung, died just before midnight on Thursday, said Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter. The cause of death is pending an autopsy.

Gaza's 36-year-old mother, Martha, was among three adults who died in the crash in the Southern California city of Redondo Beach on Wednesday night when a driver plowed into a crowd of people outside St. James Catholic Church.

Eight other people were hurt in the crash, including Samuel's father, who according to the Los Angeles Times remains hospitalized.

Local media reported that the crowd was leaving a Christmas concert at the church when the crash occurred.

The driver, Margo Bronstein, 56, hit another car after striking the pedestrians and was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, Redondo Beach police said in a statement.

Police were meeting with prosecutors on Friday to discuss possible formal charges, said Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.

The crash shocked residents of Redondo Beach, a city of about 67,000 people just west of Los Angeles.

Gaza was a kindergarten student who attended the church, according to City News Service. The other pedestrians killed were Mary Wilson, 81, and Saeko Matsumura, 87, Winter said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Susan Heavey)