A negligent driver caused the death of two brothers in Westlake Village, CA. earlier this week. Hundreds of residents came to pay respects to the family of the young brothers. Multiple visitors lined the sidewalk with flowers, balloons and stuffed animals.
“This is such a sad and pointless tragedy that should have been avoided,” one of the visitors at the memorial stated. “I raised all my children in this area. It is generally safe and that is why we love it. I still can’t believe this happened. I’m heartbroken for the family.”
The victims were identified as Mark Iskander, 11, and brother Jacob Iskander, 8, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office. Their deaths were listed as blunt force traumatic injuries by accident.
The two victims were attempting to cross the street at a crosswalk when they were hit by an oncoming car. The driver of the vehicle has been identified as Rebecca Grossman, 57. Grossman was arrested at the scene and is suspected to have been driving under the influence. Grossman was arrested and charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
On Thursday morning, Grossman was released from custody on bond, her bail was set at $2 million dollars.
ACCORDING TO THE VC COUNTY STAR: “Grossman is the wife of Dr. Peter Grossman, a prominent plastic surgeon who is the son of Dr. A. Richard Grossman, the founder of the Grossman Burn Centers, which treat burn victims in Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Kansas City, Missouri. Rebecca Grossman was listed as the chair of the Grossman Burn Foundation, the Burn Centers’ philanthropic arm which works to provide treatment, care and support for burn survivors and their families.”
The site of the crash was near the Westlake Athletic Club, an area where several residents spend time, play tennis, enjoy Westlake Lake and do other activities.
“I come down to this area all the time. I love coming here for exercise,” said a Westlake Village resident.
“Many bystanders commented on the lack of a traffic signal at the crosswalk, which covers four lanes of traffic on a street with a speed limit of 45 mph. Gorenc suggested adding a stop sign or traffic light at the intersection to ensure the safety of the crosswalk.
Diane Yablans, another Westlake Village resident, had a different suggestion for how to prevent future crashes.
‘They have got to add a bump here,’ she said, adding that her neighborhood on the Westlake Lake island has speed bumps to curb speeding accidents.
Yablans, who said she knew Grossman, called the area a ‘speedway,’ but did not expect such an incident to happen in her city.
‘I just can’t wrap my head around it,’ Yablans said.”
There is no excuse for driving under the influence. At this point it is still not clear if the driver was intoxicated. There have been rumors that she was involved in a street race. However, at the very least, it seems evident that Grossman was not paying enough attention. It will not be hard to prove Grossman was negligent and responsible for the wrongful death of the two children. Moreover, if she was intoxicated it will likely warrant punitive damages in addition to all the other damages.
There should also be an investigation into whether the city is taking proper safety precautions in that area. Given the high volume of pedestrians, the city needs to ensure this does not happen again. As many residents pointed out, there are additional safety measures the city can take to prevent this from happening again. However, it will be difficult to show the city had fault in this accident. Moreover, if an investigation is conducted and it shows there were other pedestrians that were hit at this location in the past, the city can held partially responsible as well.
My heart goes out to the family. They have been in my thoughts and prayers continuously throughout the last week. An accident like this should never occur and everyone should do their part to make sure it never happens again.
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