The following article was originally published on the Manhattan Beach Community Group website and is written by the group’s president, Ira Zalcman. He was on the scene of the accident just moments after it happened, and spoke to many witnesses. Zalcman and MBCG have been fighting for speed and traffic enforcement along Oriental and Shore boulevards for years. His outrage, though muted, is palpable and understandable.
Last night, a warm humid summer night, Brian Waldman, age 52 years, parked his car next to the Bay between Coleridge and Beaumont Streets in Manhattan Beach. He parked legally on the north side a little past where the newly paved road curves several blocks before the closest traffic light. If he would have combed his hair, blown his nose, looked for some unimportant item in his glove box, he might be alive today. Instead, he did something you and I have done many times without giving much thought to. He opened his car door on a wide street, stepped out.
What Brian Waldman didn’t know was that 23 year old Anthony Garcia and his friends had stayed on the beach until the last closing moment. Garcia then drove a car he didn’t own with his suspended license. Feeling good from a day at the beach he exited the parking lot and drove down Irwin Street past two rows of houses. He drove by PS 195 and made a left turn onto Shore Blvd. Heading home via Ocean Avenue which would take him to his home on Sterling Street in Crown Heights, he knew Shore Blvd. was his last stretch of open road. Witnesses walking on the wooden bridge said that they could “hear” him speeding.
Sources close to MBCG stated Garcia parked his car making believe he was a witness. He then tried to flee the scene leaving the car in the middle of Shore Blvd. Soon, the Police would run tape across Shore Blvd. treating it as a crime scene.
We know Garcia committed several crimes last night and has been placed in custody. But who else is responsible for Waldman’s violent death. And it was violent. His car door remained attached to the body of his sedan but looked like someone had shredded it like paper. Glass was broken like Kristallnacht for almost a block. The car driven by Garcia was smashed on the passenger front side. Plastic pieces thrown in all directions. It was a very violent end for Brian Waldman.
Life goes on. The very next morning the street was swept clean, the broken cars gone. No sign that a life was lost. People sat on benches not knowing what had happened a few feet from them. Only Garcia is legally responsible. Only Garcia deserves to go to jail. Not you or I. We’re the good people. Not our elected local officials. Not the people arguing about zoning changes. No one but Garcia is responsible. Wrong. Like it or not, we’re all connected. Like it or not we are all dependent on each other. It is up to all of us to act like responsible adults. It’s called “for the common good.”
The fears of the MBCG have been realized and it is a sickening feeling. Too many accidents. Too many people only thinking of themselves. Help us make this community safer for everyone who lives here and the many thousands who visit. If you can’t or won’t help, the least you can do is get out of the way. No more accidents. No more deaths.
Our heartfelt condolences to the Waldman family.