A prominent philanthropist and socialite was drink-driving when she fatally struck two young brothers in front of their parents before driving off, police say.
Rebecca Grossman, the 57-year-old co-founder of the renowned Grossman Burn Foundation, allegedly struck the boys as they walked with their parents and two other siblings in Westlake Village, west of Californian city Los Angeles, about 7.10pm (local time) on Tuesday.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Grossman drove off in her white Mercedes and later stopped more than two kilometres from the crash scene, ABC7 reported.
Police say one of the boys appears to have been dragged about 30 metres down the road at the front of the vehicle before being run over as Grossman applied the brakes and then allegedly drove off.
The brothers have been identified as nine-year-old Jacob Iskander and 11-year-old Mark Iskander.
“It is a very tragic situation,” Captain Salvador Becerra of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.
“The mother and father were able to pull the other two children back in time, and the vehicle struck the two other children.”
One of the boys died at the scene while the other later died in hospital.
Grossman was released after her US$2 million (AU$2.8 million) bail was met and is due to face court on October 21. She has been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter.
She is the wife of the Grossman Burn Foundation’s president and is known for her philanthropy around the world, CBS Los Angeles reported.
The Grossman Burn Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation “dedicated to preventing childhood burns and serving severely burned children and their families”, its website says.
“Like our entire community, the Grossman Burn Center family at West Hills Hospital is terribly saddened by this tragedy. Our sympathies are with all who have been affected,” the Grossman Burn Centre said in a statement.
Investigators are continuing their investigation into the traffic fatality which occurred on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at approximately 7:10 p.m., at the intersection of Triunfo Canyon Road / Saddle Mountain Drive, City of Westlake Village. https://t.co/5u5ZRzZGTK pic.twitter.com/EGgKvGTKnH— LASD Lost Hills Stn. (@LHSLASD) September 30, 2020
On Wednesday (local time), dozens paid their respects at the crash site, with flowers and soft toys left in tribute.
State Senator Henry Stern described the incident as a “devastating loss” on Facebook.
“Two young boys with an entire lifetime ahead of them. Pray for the Iskander family tonight and hold your loved ones close,” he said.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.