Mercedes driver in 13 crashes before Windsor Hills, D.A. says

The nurse, who was accused of killing five people when her Mercedes plowed into traffic at a busy Windsor Hills intersection last week, had been involved in 13 previous accidents, Los Angeles County prosecutors claimed, charging her with murder to have been accused.

Authorities unveiled new details about Thursday’s accident and the driver, Nicole Lorraine Linton, 37, who is a permanent resident of Texas and currently rents a room in Los Angeles while working as a traveling nurse.

Prosecutors said they are reviewing several prior Linton-related accidents — both inside and outside of California — including one in 2020 that involved bodily harm that totaled two cars. However, they provided few additional details.

Linton’s attorney, Halim Dhanidina, asked the court on Monday to continue her indictment through October because it is reviewing her out-of-state history of “documented profound mental health problems.” Dhanidina did not elaborate on those issues but said the Windsor Hills crash could be linked to them.

Here’s what we know:

the crash

CHP officers walk around a scene of cremated wrecked cars

California Highway Patrol officers are investigating a burning accident that killed several people near a gas station in Windsor Hills on Thursday.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Surveillance video just before Thursday’s fatal accident shows a dark-colored Mercedes hurtling down La Brea Avenue at high speed while dozens of cars crossed Slauson Avenue in Windsor Hills. Prosecutors say Linton was behind the wheel.

The Mercedes does not appear to slow before passing a red light just after 1:30 p.m. The light was red for nine seconds before the car sped through the intersection and slammed into several cars in the intersection, prosecutors said. The vehicle bursts into flames and crashes into a lamppost, where it comes to a halt. After the crash, a streak of fire burned across the ground and plumes of smoke could be seen for miles.

Prosecutors say Linton was driving at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.

At least six vehicles were involved in the crash, according to California Highway Patrol investigators. In addition to the fatalities, eight people were injured.

Los Angeles County District. atty George Gascón said there was no evidence of alcohol consumption by Linton at the time.

Announcing charges against them on Monday, he declined to discuss what led to the crash, saying it was still being investigated and he would “not go into the details.”

The consequences

Candles, balloons and flowers were left at the site of a fatal crash

Candles, balloons and flowers at a street memorial to the victims of a fatal crash at the intersection of La Brea Avenue and Slauson Avenue in Windsor Hills.

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

The effects of the crash and the fire it caused killed 23-year-old Asherey Ryan; their 11-month-old child, Alonzo Quintero; her boyfriend Reynold Lester; and her unborn child. Ryan was 8½ months pregnant when she was killed. The boy she was carrying was named Armani Lester, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner.

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

Linton was hospitalized with moderate injuries for several days before being taken into police custody.

photos posted online after the crash appear to show Linton sitting on the curb with a bloodied arm. She appears to be wearing hospital scrubs and a shirt that has lettering on the breastplate and sleeve.

Pictures from the crime scene show massive front damage to the Mercedes, which rammed headfirst into a light pole. A law enforcement source told the Times that Linton suffered a broken foot and wrist in the collision, but the car’s advanced airbag systems for a frontal collision appear to have protected her from the worst of the impact.

A specialist CHP accident investigation team extracts data from the Mercedes’ computers, which record speed, braking and acceleration.

The fees

Linton was charged Monday with six counts of murder and five counts of involuntary manslaughter. The charge of manslaughter in the vehicle relates to the deaths of the four adults and the baby, who was around two weeks short of his first birthday. Ryan’s unborn child cannot be included in these charges.

Linton faces life imprisonment if convicted on all charges.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Natalie Stone denied her bail, which had previously been set at $9 million, at the request of prosecutors who said she was a flight risk. Linton should leave LA and travel to Hawaii for work, prosecutors said. Mercedes driver in 13 crashes before Windsor Hills, D.A. says

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