Nurse Was Allegedly Going 130mph Before Fatal Crash

Prosecutors in Los Angeles say Nicole Linton was 'conscious and deliberate in her driving'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 10, 2022 1:00 AM CDT
Updated Sep 11, 2022 9:35 AM CDT
Nurse Charged With 6 Counts of Murder After LA Crash
Nicole Linton appears in Los Angeles Superior Court for arraignment on murder charges stemming from a traffic accident, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Los Angeles.   (Frederick M. Brown/Daily Mail.com via AP, Pool)

(Newser) Update: A Los Angeles nurse charged with killing five people when her car slammed into a busy intersection was traveling about 130mph when the crash occurred, prosecutors say, per the Los Angeles Times. In fact, Nicole Linton had the gas pedal floored for at least five seconds just before the Aug. 4 crash, say prosecutors. They dispute the defense argument that Linton lost consciousness, saying the evidence shows she was "conscious and deliberate in her driving." The piece also details Linton's history of mental health struggles. Our story from last month follows:

The driver suspected of causing a fiery crash that killed five people, including a pregnant woman, was charged Monday with murder, the AP reports. Nicole Linton was charged with six counts of murder and five counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. One murder charge was filed for the pregnant woman's unborn child. She could face 90 years to life in prison if convicted of all charges. Authorities said they haven't found any evidence that Linton was under the influence of alcohol but prosecutors said she had at least 13 previous crashes—including a 2020 injury accident that totaled two cars—and knew the threat posed by her driving behavior. Her lawyer says she has a history of "profound mental health issues" that might be linked to the crash.

Linton, a 37-year-old traveling nurse from Houston, Texas, made her first court appearance Monday after being released from a hospital over the weekend. Linton, who appeared in a wheelchair, didn't enter a plea and her arraignment was continued to October. She was ordered held without bail pending a bail hearing next week. Prosecutors said Linton's Mercedes-Benz was doing 90mph last Thursday when it ran a red light and smashed into cars in a crowded intersection in unincorporated Windsor Hills about 10 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. Several victims were thrown from the cars and several vehicles caught fire.

The crash killed 23-year-old Asherey Ryan, her 11-month-old son Alonzo Quintero, and her boyfriend, Reynold Lester, Sha’seana Kerr said in a GoFundMe posting. Lester’s family told KABC-TV that the 24-year-old security guard was the father of Ryan’s unborn child, who was 8 1/2 months along. The family has said Ryan was on the way to a doctor’s appointment for a prenatal checkup when she was killed. One murder charge—but not an additional charge of vehicular manslaughter—was filed for the fetus, who was identified by the coroner’s office as Armani Lester and listed as born on the same day he died. Two other women were also killed but their names weren’t made public as of Monday. (Read more Los Angeles stories.)

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