A 37-year-old woman is facing vehicular manslaughter charges in connection withnear Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon 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 crashed into multiple vehicles in Windsor Hills, a neighborhood southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Linton remains hospitalized with moderate injuries and has been arrested on suspicion of grossly negligent vehicular manslaughter, the CHP said. His case is being referred to the Los Angeles 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 come before us as soon as Monday.”
The violent crash was captured on security video. Multiple people were ejected and two vehicles were engulfed in flames, CHP said.
The car was going at least 50 mph as it went through the crowded intersection, CHP Officer Franco Pepi said.
The coroner’s office on Friday identified one of the deceased victims as Asherey Ryan, a 23-year-old pregnant woman. Her unborn child was listed as “baby Ryan” in online forensic records. Two other women and a man, as well as a child, were killed, but their names were not made public.
Pepi said eight others were injured, including Linton. 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 the extensive damage caused by the fire, the make and model of the vehicles involved and which vehicle the involved parties were traveling in are unknown at this time.”
A monument grew outside the intersection on Friday, as mourners left flowers and candles in memory of the dead.
Henry Sanchez, who works at nearby Sinclair Gas, was at the inside cash register when he heard “the loudest noise I’ve ever heard.”
“The sound of that, it was heartbreaking,” he told The Associated Press on Friday. “It was like two trains crashing into each other, metal on metal.”
He saw people run to cars to offer help, but the flames held them back until firefighters arrived.
“I remember everyone was trying to put out the fire and help people as much as they could, but nobody could do anything,” he said.
Another witness to the crash, Veronica Esquivel, told KTLA-TV that an infant was thrown from the vehicle and landed near her.
“All of a sudden, a baby literally flew from the middle of the intersection to the middle of the gas station and landed right on the floor in front of me,” Esquival said. “One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and took it from my hands… Someone tried to resuscitate the baby, but he was gone.”
Debra Jackson told CBS Los Angeles that she was about to get out of her car to get gas when she heard a large explosion.
“The flames went over everyone,” Jackson said. “The flames covered my entire 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 just left my car sitting right there.”