Woman Accused Of Causing Deadly Los Angeles Crash Charged With Murder; History Of Reckless Driving
Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Six counts of murder and five counts of gross vehicular manslaughter were charged against a registered nurse Monday in connection with a multi-vehicle fiery crash in Los Angeles last week that killed six people, including an unborn child and a nearly one-year-old baby.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, prosecutors accused Nicole Lorraine Linton, 37, of reckless disregard for life involving the deadly six-vehicle crash on August 4 that also hospitalized eight more people with injuries.

Linton allegedly zoomed down La Brea Avenue at 90 mph in her Mercedes-Benz, blasting through a red light as dozens of cars crossed Slauson avenue. Video footage shows the reckless car t-boning a black sedan and starting a raging fire by a nearby gas station.

“In an instant, Ms. Linton’s conduct took the lives of six people and injured many others,” Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said, adding she could face up to life in prison if convicted of all charges.

One witness said the crash ejected the baby from the intersection to a nearby gas station before landing in front of her.

“One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and took the baby out of my hands,” Esquivel said. “Somebody tried to resuscitate the baby, but the baby was gone.”

Alphonso Ward, a witness, told CBS News that the children never had a chance for survival.

“It was seeing the kids — that’s what got to me,” Ward said. “Thinking about that mother who was probably happy to be having a baby. But she’s gone.”

If prosecutors can prove Linton acted with implied malice and knew the act of driving at high speed on city streets was dangerous to human life, she could also face second-degree murder convictions. Prosecutors said such cases are usually brought against a driver who was under the influence, had a history of prior DUI convictions, and attended DUI classes.

According to California Highway Patrol, Linton was involved in 13 prior crashes, which gave the district attorney a case for knowingly posing a threat with her reckless driving.

Despite reports of a woman who alleged she was drinking alcohol with Linton, authorities have not discovered any evidence at this point to suggest Linton was driving under the influence, Gascón said.

“The CHP is working to identify this person, but we don’t have any further information,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times reports prosecutors said Linton, who works as a traveling nurse, rents a room in Los Angeles and has a permanent address in Texas. Before last week’s crash, the nurse had set up plans to travel to Hawaii for work.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Natalie Stone denied Linton’s $9 million bail at the request of the district attorney’s office, citing she is a flight risk and should have been aware of her limitation before driving.

Judge Stone set Linton’s hearing for August 15.

Attorney Halim Dhanidina claims Linton also has an out-of-state history of “documented profound mental health issues” but did not link those factors with the deadly crash.

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office identified the deaths of 23-year-old Asherey Ryan; her nearly 1-year-old child, Alonzo Quintero; her boyfriend, Reynold Lester; and their 8 ½ months unborn child, who was to be named Armani Lester.

Latanda Guy, Lester’s mother, told The Los Angeles Times that her son had just begun building his family.

“They were looking forward to starting a family,” Guy said.

Two other women killed in the crash have yet to be identified.

The Los Angeles Times reports Linton faces five counts of vehicular manslaughter for the deaths of the four adults and the nearly one-year-old baby. Ryan’s unborn child cannot be included in those charges.

Authorities told The Los Angeles Times Linton suffered moderate injuries from the crash, which included a broken foot and wrist.

Eric Quintanar contributed to this report.

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