Mercedes driver charged with murder in Windsor Hills crash

A registered nurse was charged Monday with six counts of murder and five counts of manslaughter while driving a vehicle in connection with the a fire accident in Windsor Hills last week that killed a pregnant woman, a baby and three other adults, the Los Angeles County prosecutor said.

Nicole Lorraine Linton, 37, is charged with reckless disregard for life in connection with Thursday’s multi-vehicle crash. Prosecutors said the Los Angeles woman was driving a Mercedes-Benz that was speeding up to 90 mph when she ran a red light shortly after 1:30 p.m. and plowed into traffic at the very busy intersection. frequented by La Brea and Slauson avenues. .

For memory :

4:17 p.m. August 8, 2022A previous version of this article described Alonzo Quintero as the child of Asherey Ryan and Reynold Lester. Lester is not the boy’s father.

District of Los Angeles County. Atti. George Gascón said Linton faces life in prison if convicted of all charges.

“In an instant, Ms. Linton’s conduct claimed the lives of six people and injured many others,” Gascón said.

To secure a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors must prove that she acted with implied malice and knew that driving at high speed on city streets was dangerous to human life.

Usually, such cases are brought if the driver is under the influence and has a prior DUI conviction after subsequent DUI education courses. In Linton’s case, investigators found she had a history of dangerous crashes and knew of the threat posed by her driving behavior, prosecutors said.

California Highway Patrol investigators identified 13 prior crashes involving Linton. These incidents are the basis of the district attorney’s case that she knew the dangers of reckless driving.

However, Gascón said there was no evidence of Linton’s drinking at this point.

“I know some of you have spoken to a woman who claimed they had been drinking together. The CHP is working to identify this person, but we have no further information,” he said. -he declares.

The district attorney declined to discuss what caused the crash, saying it was still under investigation and “won’t go into detail.”

Murder charges against Linton relate to the death of a 23-year-old man Asherey Ryan; she almost 1 year old child, Alonzo Quintero; her boyfriend, Reynold Lester; and their unborn child. Ryan was 8.5 months pregnant when she was killed. The boy she was carrying at the time was named Armani Lester, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. His date of birth and date of death fell on the same day.

“A young family was destroyed in the blink of an eye,” Gascón said as he announced the charges against Linton, a New York native who spent the past decade working as a nurse in Texas before moving to California, where she was temporarily licensed as a specialist intensive care nurse.

Linton has also been charged with murder for the deaths of two women killed in the accident who have not yet been identified. The five counts of vehicular manslaughter against her relate to the deaths of the four adults and the baby, who was about two weeks before she was one year old. Ryan’s unborn child cannot be included in these costs.

Surveillance video just before Thursday’s fatal crash shows a dark-colored Mercedes racing down La Brea Avenue at high speed as dozens of cars drive through Slauson.

The Mercedes doesn’t seem to slow down before running a red light and crashing into cars at the intersection. The car then ignites and rushes into a lamppost, where it comes to a stop. After the crash, a trail of fire burned to the ground and billowing smoke could be seen miles away.

At least six vehicles were involved in the accident, according to CHP investigators. In addition to the dead, eight people were injured.

Linton was hospitalized with moderate injuries for several days before being taken into custody. She was being held in lieu of $9 million bond at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood and was due for arraignment Monday afternoon.

Photographs uploaded after the crash appear to show Linton sitting on the sidewalk with a bloody arm. She appears to be wearing hospital medical pants and a shirt with writing on the chest and sleeve.

Footage from the scene shows massive damage to the front of the Mercedes, which crashed headfirst into a lamp post. A police source told The Times that Linton broke her foot and wrist in the collision, but the car’s advanced airbag systems for a frontal collision appear to have shielded her from the worst of the impact.

A specialist CHP accident investigation team extracts data from Mercedes computers which capture speed, braking and acceleration. This team worked all weekend preparing an investigation for prosecutors specializing in handling fatal incidents involving vehicles.

Times writer Nathan Solis contributed to this report.

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