A registered nurse has been arrested and will be charged with vehicular manslaughter in the horrific Windsor Hills crash that killed five people, including a pregnant woman, law enforcement sources confirmed to The Times on Friday.
Investigators arrested 37-year-old Nicole Linton, who they believe was driving the high-speed Mercedes-Benz that swept through traffic at the intersection of La Brea and Slauson Avenues. Linton is currently in the hospital and is cooperating with California Highway Patrol investigators, sources said.
News of her arrest came as the medical examiner released the name of the deceased pregnant woman, Asherey Ryan, 23.
Ryan, 8.5 months pregnant, was with her boyfriend on her way to a doctor’s appointment when the Mercedes slammed into their car. She and her boyfriend died, as did their one-year-old baby and Ryan’s unborn child, according to Ryan’s sister. The county coroner has yet to release official identifications of anyone other than Ryan.
“I’ve already cried. I cried. I haven’t slept for a moment. I screamed,” Sha’seana Kerr, who identified herself as Ryan’s sister, said on Instagram. “We have to bury four people.”
When Kerr saw video of the accident shortly after it happened, she knew something was wrong.
“As soon as I saw this video it hit home it hit different. I felt connected,” she posted. my son’s only cousin We are so deeply hurt.
Authorities are checking Linton’s blood tests to determine if she was under the influence at the time of the accident, according to two law enforcement sources.
She is to be formally charged Monday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney. A member of Linton’s family declined to speak to a Times reporter on Friday.
Linton is likely to be charged with killing the unborn child as well as the other five.
Eight people were also injured in the accident.
Surveillance video shows a Mercedes-Benz speeding down La Brea as dozens of cars drive through the intersection on Slauson. The Mercedes runs a red light and crashes into cars at the intersection, then bursts into flames and rushes into a lamppost, where it comes to a stop.
After the crash, a trail of fire burned to the ground.
Smoke could be seen billowing for miles around.
Officer Franco Pepi, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said Thursday afternoon that three adults, including a pregnant woman, and a baby were killed in the accident.
Authorities later found the remains of another person inside one of the burned vehicles, he said. This person’s gender or age were not known as of Thursday evening.
Authorities took eight people to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for treatment, he said. Among the injured, six were teenagers and one suffered serious injuries.
A woman who did not want to be named told The Times that a Mercedes-Benz hit her car as she was leaving a United Oil gas station.
“I was going out, I had gas,” she said. “Suddenly Mercedes comes towards me on… fire. I didn’t have time to think about it. He hit my car. I turned, I hit the bench on the side.
The crash made her fear a gasoline explosion, she told The Times.
Nearby, Linton’s Mercedes-Benz had crashed into the curb and come to a stop.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known, but the CHP spokesman said investigators determined the Mercedes-Benz was traveling “at high speed” and ran a red light as it it was heading south on La Brea.
At least six vehicles were involved in the crash, three of which were engulfed in flames, Pepi said. The others suffered moderate damage.
Mourners began gathering at the crash site on Friday. Road crews were replacing traffic lights damaged in the crash. Witnesses described a horrific scene.
Eran Hall worked at La Brea Gas across the street for about eight months and saw several car accidents, but never like the one that happened on Thursday.
“Everyone was just shocked,” Hall told The Times on Friday morning. “Some people started running from the gas station because of all the flames. Other people started to help the drivers in the other cars that were pushed aside.
At least two people ran in with fire extinguishers, Hall said.
Henry Sanchez, who works at the Sinclair petrol station, said the flames were out of control.
“By then it was just too late for people to do anything,” Sanchez said.
Before the accident, Sanchez heard the sound of the car driving down the hill.
“You hear the squeal of the tires,” Sanchez said. “The sound stayed with me.”
Noel Senior, who works at Little Kingston Jamaican, heard a loud boom and when he came out of his business and looked down the street, he saw a column of flames crashing down on the gas station sign. “We couldn’t have done anything. No one was going to get out of the fire,” Senior said.
“Everyone was going through a process of not really knowing what to do and helping as best they could,” said Jamarcus Robinson, who entered United Oil for a Powerade while going for a run. “We saw a baby. There was a car seat across the street and a baby not too far away.
“I could barely sleep at night,” he added.
Veronica Esquival told KTLA-TV Channel 5 that a baby came to rest at the intersection. “One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and snatched the baby from my hands. Someone tried to resuscitate the baby, but the baby was gone,” she said.