The driver of the Mercedes-Benz that sped through a red light and slammed into three cars at South La Brea and Slauson avenues Thursday afternoon, killing six and injuring at least eight in a fireball of bodies and debris, has been arrested.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver was identified Friday as 37-year-old Nicole Lorraine Linton, KTLA reports, a registered nurse in California and Texas. CHP has forwarded the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, recommending charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
— Los Angeles Magazine (@LAmag) August 5, 2022
Investigators believe Linton was driving at more than 100 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone when she plowed into cars at the Windsor Hills intersection at around 1:40 p.m. after blowing a red light, sending the other vehicles careening toward a corner gas station. Witnesses say the bodies of several victims were ejected from their cars in the massive, high-speed collision, including the infant child of pregnant 23-year-old Asherey Ryan.
Ryan’s sister, Sha’seana Kerr, confirmed on Instagram that Ryan, her unborn child, her one-year-old son and her boyfriend were all killed in the crash, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I already cried. I cried. I didnt sleep one bit. I’m all cried out,” Kerr said on Instagram. “We have to bury four people.”
Veronica Esquival, who was at the gas station when the crash occurred, described the horrific scene to KTLA.
“All of a sudden a baby literally flew from the middle of the intersection to the middle of the gas station, landed right on the floor in front of me,” she 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.”
Authorities took eight people to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for treatment. Of those injured, six were teens and one suffered major injuries, the Times reports.
Linton had to be extracted from her vehicle and was taken to a local hospital, where she has been cooperating with CHP investigators, according to the Times. She is scheduled to be formally charged by the L.A. D.A. on Monday.
While police are still investigating if drugs or alcohol were involved, a friend of Linton told KTLA, “She was drinking and she was not aware it was a red light because she shot straight through.”
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