A 37-year-old woman is facing vehicular manslaughter charges in connectionnear Los Angeles Thursday afternoon that left five people dead, including a pregnant woman and a child.
California Highway Patrol said Friday that Nicole Lorraine Linton was behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz sedan when it sped through a red light and slammed into several vehicles in Windsor Hills, a neighborhood southeast of downtown L.A.
Linton remains hospitalized with moderate injuries and has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, CHP said. Her case is being forwarded to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.
“Our office is in close contact with the lead law enforcement agency investigating,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement. “A prosecutor has already been assigned and will be working with law enforcement throughout the weekend. We will provide updates as more information becomes available. The case could be presented to us as early as Monday.”
The violent crash was captured on security video. Multiple people were ejected and two vehicles were engulfed in flames, CHP said.
The car was going at least 50 mph as it raced through the crowded intersection, CHP Officer Franco Pepi said.
The coroner’s office Friday identified one of the deceased victims as Asherey Ryan, a 23-year-old pregnant woman. Her unborn child was listed as “baby boy Ryan” in online coroner’s records. Two other women and a man, as well as a boy, were killed but their names were not made public.
Pepi said eight others were hurt, including Linton. The other victims had minor injuries and included a 33-year-old woman and six children ranging in age from 13 months old to 15 years old, Pepi said.
CHP said Friday that “due to extensive fire damage, it is unknown at this time the make and model of the involved vehicles and which vehicle the involved parties were traveling in.”
A memorial grew outside the intersection Friday, as mourners left flowers and candles in memory of the dead.
Henry Sanchez, who works at nearby Sinclair Gas, was at the indoor register when he heard “the loudest noise I’ve ever heard.”
“The sound of it, it was gut-wrenching,” he told The Associated Press on Friday. “It was like two trains hitting each other, metal on metal.”
He saw people rush to the cars to offer aid but they were kept back by the flames until firefighters arrived.
“I remember everybody trying to get the fire down and help people out as much as they could, but nobody could do anything,” he said.
Another witness to the crash, Veronica Esquivel, told KTLA-TV that a baby was ejected from the vehicle and landed near her.
“All of the sudden, a baby literally flew from the middle of the intersection to the middle of the gas station and landed right on the floor in front of me,” Esquival said. “One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and took the baby out of my hands. … Somebody tried to resuscitate the baby but the baby was gone.”
Debra Jackson told CBS Los Angeles she was about to get out of her car to pump gas when she heard a big explosion.
“The flames just went over everybody,” Jackson said. “The flames went over my whole car and they told me to jump out of my car … because I was trying to get out of my car, to go to the gas pump. And I jumped out of my car and just left my car sitting right there.”