A 37-year-old woman is facing vehicular manslaughter chargesnear Los Angeles on Thursday evening that left five people dead, including a pregnant woman and a child.
The California Highway Patrol said Friday that Nicole Lorraine Linton was behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz sedan when she ran a red light and slammed into several vehicles in Windsor Hills, a neighborhood southeast of downtown LA.
Linton remains hospitalized with moderate injuries and was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, CHP said. Her case is being forwarded to the LA County District Attorney’s Office.
“Our office is in close contact with the lead law enforcement agency that is 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. Many people were displaced and two vehicles were engulfed in flames, CHP said.
The car was going at least 50 mph as it raced through the crowded intersection, said CHP Officer Franco Pepi.
The coroner’s office on Friday identified one of the deceased victims as Asherey Ryan, a 23-year-old pregnant woman. Their 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 have not been published.
Pepi said eight others, including Linton, were injured. The other victims had minor injuries and included a 33-year-old woman and six children between the ages of 13 months and 15 years, Pepi said.
CHP said Friday that “due to extensive fire damage, the make and model of the vehicles involved and which vehicle the involved parties were traveling in is unknown at this time.”
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 on the board inside 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 rushing to the cars to offer help but were held back by the flames until firefighters arrived.
“I remember everyone trying to put out the fire and help people as much as they can, but no one could do anything,” he said.
Another witness to the crash, Veronica Esquivel, told KTLA-TV that a child was ejected from the vehicle and landed next to her.
“All of a sudden, a kid literally flew from the middle of the intersection to the middle of the gas station and landed 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. … Someone tried to revive the baby but the baby was gone.”
Debra Jackson told CBS Los Angeles that she was about to get out of her car to pump gas when she heard a loud explosion.
“The flames went right over everybody,” Jackson said. “The flames went all over my 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 I just left my car. car sitting there.”