VAN NUYS (CNS) - An attorney for former Major League Baseball pitcher Scott Erickson vehemently denied today that his client was driving recklessly or was in any way responsible for a hit-and-run crash in Westlake Village that killed two young boys in September.
“He wasn't racing. He's charged with one count of reckless driving. He wasn't driving recklessly. He had nothing to do with this accident, really, he didn't, and any suggestion that he did is just false,'' attorney Mark Werksman told City News Service.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office charged Erickson last Wednesday with one misdemeanor count of reckless driving and set arraignment for March 16 in Van Nuys.
The charges were included in a standalone criminal complaint and not as part of a case against Rebecca Grossman, 57, of Hidden Hills, who was charged in December with two felony counts each of murder and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, along with one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death.
Prosecutors allege that Grossman -- wife of the director of the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills -- was driving at excessive speeds on Triunfo Canyon Road on Sept. 29 when she struck 11-year-old Mark Iskander and his 8-year-old brother, Jacob, as they were crossing the street with their parents in a marked crosswalk at Saddle Mountain Drive.
Initial media reports about the charge against Erickson, 52, stated he was accused of racing with Grossman, but neither Erickson nor Grossman are facing any charges alleging a street race.
Erickson's attorney said his client passed safely through the intersection before the crash even occurred.
“He didn't witness the accident or have any part in causing it or play any role in it,'' Werksman said.
The former MLB pitcher knows Grossman and has cooperated fully with law enforcement, according to his defense attorney.
“If the D.A. or the sheriff had thought he had been racing Rebecca Grossman at the time she hit these children, he'd be a co-defendant with her ... he would have been charged in connection with the accident itself,'' Werksman said.
The D.A.'s office did not immediately respond to a question about whether prosecutors or investigators ever alleged Erickson was racing. The criminal complaint includes only the single count of reckless driving on a highway, quoting the penal code section about willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, but mentions no victims.
As for Grossman, she pleaded not guilty to all charges Dec. 30 and is scheduled to return to court Feb. 16, when a date is expected to be a set for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
She could face a maximum of 34 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Sheriff's officials said six family members were crossing the three-way intersection -- which does not have a stoplight -- in the crosswalk when the mother heard a car speeding toward them and both parents reached out to protect two of their children, but the two boys were too far out in the intersection and were struck.
The older boy died at the scene and his 8-year-old sibling died at a hospital.
Grossman allegedly continued driving after striking the boys, eventually stopping about a quarter-mile away from the scene when her car engine stopped running, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Grossman was arrested by sheriff's deputies the day of the crash and subsequently released Oct. 1 on bond. She remains free on bond -- with one of the conditions of her bail barring her from driving, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The defendant's husband, Dr. Peter Grossman, is the son of the Grossman Burn Center's later founder, A. Richard Grossman. She is a co-founder and chairwoman of the Grossman Burn Foundation and a former publisher of Westlake Magazine.
Erickson pitched 15 seasons in the major leagues, debuting in 1990. He pitched for six teams, including the Dodgers in 2005. He was a member of the Minnesota Twins 1991 World Series championship team and pitched a no-hitter for the Twins against the Milwaukee Brewers in April 1994.
Photo: Getty Images