Nonprofit Founder Charged with Murder After Allegedly Killing 2 Boys in Hit and Run
The founder of a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization has been charged with the murder of two school-aged boys in a hit-and-run in September.
Rebecca Grossman was arraigned Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court and charged with two felony counts each of murder and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced.
Grossman, 57, is accused of speeding through a crosswalk in Westlake Village on Sept. 29, striking two brothers with her car who were crossing the street with their parents at the time, the DA's office said.
"After allegedly striking the children, Grossman allegedly continued driving, eventually stopping about one-quarter mile away from the scene when her car engine cutoff," the DA said.
The victims were Mark Iskander, 11, and Jacob Iskander, 8.
Grossman could receive a sentence of up to 34 years to life in state prison if she is convicted as charged, the DA's office said.
Grossman and her husband are the founders of the Grossman Burn Foundation, which seeks "to promote effective, sustainable partnership solutions for the comprehensive treatment, care, and support of burn survivors and their families in the United States and around the world," according to the organization's website.
Grossman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter after the accident, NBC Los Angeles reported, but posted her $2 million bail on October 1.
An attorney for Grossman could not be immediately identified by PEOPLE and it is not clear if she has entered a plea at this time. The Grossman Burn Foundation did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
A Change.org petition was started after the Iskander boys' deaths, demanding for Grossman to be "prosecuted and sentenced to the fullest extent of the law and that she face serious consequences for her actions that took away the lives of Mark and Jacob."
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"Thousands of lives have been impacted by this tragedy – two, innocent and loving, young boys with their entire life ahead of them were taken away by the complete and intentional disregard for human life, gross negligence, and selfish actions of Grossman," the petition says. "All witnessed by the very eyes of the ones who love them most — their parents. Mark’s and Jacob’s family and community will continue to grieve this horrific and tragic loss for a lifetime. Justice must be served, regardless of Grossman’s financial means, status, privilege, and connections."
A memorial service was held for Mark and Jacob on Oct. 7 at their school in Thousand Oaks: Ascension Lutheran School.
Mark's third-grade teacher Kristen Rowlands remembered her student as having an "outgoing passion" paired with "smarts," adding that his younger brother was full of confidence and "so much joy," the Thousand Oaks Acorn reported.
The boys' father, Karim Iskander, said Mark had "the sweetest heart ever," and would "spread sincere appreciation and laughter." Of his younger son, Karim added, "Jacob was the coolest boy ever. He stands tall, he speaks with confidence. He had a strong personality, strong muscles and strong faith."
"They were truly, truly awesome kids. I was very proud of them," Karim said. "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."
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