When a police officer stopped Rebecca Grossman for speeding in 2013 at 92 mph, the angry, wealthy socialite threatened to show up at her husband’s hospital in the future, the jury in her murder trial heard Thursday.
California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Leffler stopped Grossman for speeding in her black Land Rover SUV seven years before the crash in which she is accused of killing two young brothers while speeding in a white Mercedes Benz.
When handed the speeding citation, Leffler said, “She became frustrated to the point that she said she hoped she would not need the services of the Burn Center in the future,” referring to the Grossman Burn Center, the hospital in West Hills. run by her husband, prominent plastic surgeon Peter Grossman.
Leffler told the jury of nine men and three women in the Van Nuys courtroom that he stopped Grossman when he saw her “passing all the traffic” traveling east on West 101 in Los Angeles.
California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Leffler testified Thursday that he stopped Rebecca Grossman for speeding in her black Land Rover SUV in March 2013. She is pictured with her husband and daughter.
Leffler said, “She was so frustrated that she said she hoped she wouldn’t need the services of the Burn Center in the future.” Pictured is the Grossman Burn Center.
Mark (left) and Jacob (right) Iskander, ages 11 and 8 respectively, died in the horrific accident on September 29, 2020.
He estimated her speed at 90 mph, confirmed with his radar that it was actually 92 mph, then followed her and stopped her, he said.
After asking for her license and registration, he told the court: “She apologized and said her husband was called at work and she was rushing to pick up her children.”
Leffler said he told him he was going 27 mph over the 65 mph limit, warned him about the dangers of speeding and told him to “slow down.”
He didn’t think about Grossman again until more than seven years later, when he heard on television news about the accident in which Grossman allegedly killed eight-year-old Jacob and 11-year-old Mark Iskander in a Westlake crosswalk. Village in September 2020.
Under cross-examination by lead defense attorney Tony Buzbee, Leffler agreed that Grossman initially apologized and did not say, “Leave me alone, officer, give me a break.”
He told the attorney that he couldn’t remember who he had written a speeding ticket for immediately before Grossman, or immediately after. But he remembered hers.
“It stuck in my mind,” he told the court.
Grossman, 60, who wore a black wool jacket and red and black checkered pants in court Thursday, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the tragic deaths of
She faces a maximum sentence of 34 years to life in prison if convicted of the murders and is also charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one count of hit-and-run resulting in death.
She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Nancy Iskander was crossing the street with the brothers and their youngest son, Zachary, 5, when they were hit. Nancy and her husband leave the court
The officer testified that he did not think about Grossman again until more than seven years later, when he learned on television news about the accident in which Grossman allegedly killed eight-year-old Jacob and 11-year-old Mark Iskander in a car. Westlake Village crosswalk in September. 2020
Grossman’s white Mercedes SUV appears in the photo moments after the accident.
Grossman has been free on $2 million bail since his arrest more than three years ago.
While prosecutors insist it was Grossman’s car that hit and killed the children, her defense team claims it was the black SUV driven by her boyfriend, former professional baseball player Scott Erickson, 56, with who had been drinking margaritas before, who was to blame.
Erickson, who was romantically involved with Grossman while she was separated from her husband, was allegedly “racing” with her as he drove his black SUV through the crosswalk where the Iskanders were walking, seconds before Grossman’s car.
He was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving and his case was resolved in February 2022 when a judge ordered him to make a public service announcement to high school students about the importance of safe driving.
For the first time in two weeks of trial testimony, jurors learned Thursday that Erickson denies hitting the Iskander brothers with his black Mercedes SUV.
Grossman’s lead attorney, Tony Buzbee, has been firmly building a defense that it was Erickson’s car – traveling just off Grossman’s white Mercedes SUV – that was to blame for the children’s deaths.
And it was during Buzbee’s cross-examination of prosecution witness Jeffrey Muttart, an expert in driver responses to accidents, that Erickson’s denial was revealed.
Muttart reviewed all evidence, details of the police investigation and witness statements, including Erickson’s.
And, he told the court, in his statement to police, Erickson “said he didn’t hit anyone.” He saw two children in the crosswalk and saw a reflective scooter in the crosswalk.
The scooter belonged to Zach, the five-year-old brother of the dead children, who was pushed to safety by his mother, Nancy Iskander, a split second before the accident.
Muttart dismissed Buzbee’s claim that Erickson’s car was responsible for the tragedy, saying, “He (Erickson) avoided the children.”
And when Buzbee suggested that both boys were hit first by Erickson’s black SUV, and that one of them was thrown through the air and landed on Grossman’s white car, Muttart added: “The facts in this case don’t support that.”
In court Wednesday, collision investigator Michael Hale, who analyzed data from the car’s black box, said the recorder showed Grossman traveling at 73 mph five seconds before impact, and accelerating to 81 mph in two seconds after impact. a second and a half when he braked “lightly” just a second before colliding with the boys, at 120 km/h.
On Thursday, Muttart reviewed those results and noted that as Grossman accelerated from 73 to 81 mph, his foot had the accelerator pedal depressed at 98 percent of its capacity and “that’s as close as you can get to pedaling to the metal.” .
Deputy Prosecutor Jamie Castro asked him: “What ultimately caused this collision?” Muttart responded: “Speed caused this accident.”
He added: “At 81 mph there is not much she can do to avoid this accident.”
‘His car was amplified… He could have driven blindfolded at a slower speed and his car would have avoided it.
‘There was no one in the crosswalk to hit if she had been half a second later. Even at 55, 56 or 57 mph she could have avoided the accident.’
Under questioning by Buzbee, Muttart lamented that the Los Angeles district attorney’s office paid his firm more than $50,000 to review the Grossman case and provide expert witness testimony.