A noted California philanthropist who struck and killed two young brothers with her Mercedes before fleeing the scene of the accident is now facing charges of murder, which may put her behind bars for life.
According to local news, Rebecca Grossman, 57, who is founder and chair of the Grossman Burn Foundation as well as a recognized global humanitarian, was thought to be both under the influence and speeding when she hit Mark Iskander, 11, and Jacob Iskander, 9, who were taking a walk with their family in the Los Angeles county suburb Westlake Village on the evening of September 29.
Reports state that Grossman sped away from the crash, and was apprehended shortly after when her Mercedes broke down about a half-mile away from the accident scene. The car was found to have front damage.
The boys were walking in a marked crosswalk. Officials say their mother was able to pull two of the boys’ siblings away from the approaching car. One boy died at the scene; the other was taken to the hospital and died of his injuries there.
Local residents noted that the area the family was walking in is a popular local trek because of its scenic views, but that cars are known to often disregard the 45 mph speed limit posted.
Grossman was initially arrested on counts of vehicular manslaughter. She pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Los Angeles County Superior courtroom to the elevated charges of two counts each of murder and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, along with one count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death.
According to CBS News, the L.A. sheriff’s department reported that the drunken driving portion of the case remains under investigation; they are still waiting on the toxicology results. Grossman could face further charges if she is proven to have been under the influence.
Officials seem convinced she had been drinking that evening. “We believe…alcohol is a factor,” Lost Hills Capt. Salvador Becerra told local news.
Her bail is set at $2 million. If convicted as charged, she faces up to 34 years to life in state prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Her next hearing is set for February 16.