More than chef or author -- both of which she is -- Amelia Saltsman is an advocate for the Santa Monica Farmer's Market, a doyenne of good taste whom everyone here seems to know. The farmers invite her judgment on their best produce; the chefs ask for advice on recipes.
Janet Nabatian tried to answer her cellphone at the busy Santa Monica Farmers' Market July 16 at about 1:30 p.m., but the reception was so weak that she had to walk a few steps away from her mother and 7-month-old son to get better reception.
Nabatian, 32, was at the market with her child and 63-year-old mother to buy food for Shabbat. The phone call from her sister in Washington, D.C., saved her life.
Moments later, Nabatian turned her head and saw a speeding red Buick smash into her mother and the baby carriage. Nabatian stared in shock as she saw her mother, Molok Ghoulian, roll over on the ground and her son, Brandon David Esfahani, tossed into the air.
Ghoulian was killed on the spot. The baby was rushed to Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and later transferred to UCLA Medical Center, where he died a day later from brain injuries.
Ghoulian and Brandon, members of the Persian Jewish community, were two of the 10 people killed by 86-year-old driver George Russell Weller, who lost control of his car. As of press time, Santa Monica Police had not decided on what action to take in the case.