SoCal families connected by tragedy urge people to drive safe 4th of July weekend

"I want justice for our kids," said the mother of a teen boy killed when a driver fatally struck him near Westlake High School.

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Saturday, July 1, 2023
Families connected by tragedy urge people to drive safe this weekend
Friends and family of two brothers killed on a Westlake Village street three years ago along with the family of a teen killed while walking near Westlake High School are all sharing the same message this holiday weekend: Drive safe.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- As many people prepare for the 4th of July weekend, a group connected by tragedy got together on Friday, urging people to drive safe.

The friends and family of Mark and Jacob Iskander - who were fatally struck nearly three years - met at the intersection of Thousand Oaks and Westlake boulevards to remind drivers of what could occur if they drink and drive.

In September 2020, the two brothers, who were 8 and 11 at the time, were fatally struck while they were walking with their family.

Rebecca Grossman, the wife of the director of the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills, is accused of killing the brothers while driving intoxicated. Her trial was delayed earlier this month.

READ ALSO | Socialite accused of killing 2 boys while driving intoxicated in Westlake Village has trial delayed

Also in attendance during Friday's rally were friends and family of 15-year-old Wesley Welling, who was killed in April when a driver crashed into the boy and another group of students near Westlake High School.

The driver, 24-year-old Austin Eis, was charged with murder and other counts in a series of alleged crimes that culminated with the collision.

"I want justice for our kids," said Wesley's mother, Kelly Welling. "I want people to think twice before they act. Whatever the reason being, lives were lost and they were children."

READ ALSO | Westlake High, family mourn teenager fatally struck in crash after driver's alleged crime spree

Julie Cohen, a family friend of the Iskanders, helped organize the rally.

"We want everyone to know to slow down on our streets and we want to bring awareness to Mark and Jacob and Wesley Welling and remind everybody to not drink and drive," she said.

The group said they don't want any other family to go through the tragedy they're all still dealing with.