Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
A potential life sentence awaits the driver who police say is responsible for careening into numerous vehicles late last week at high speeds and causing a deadly crash that claimed six lives, including that of an unborn child.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Monday that Nicole Linton, a 37-year-old travel nurse from Houston, has been charged with six counts of murder and five counts of gross vehicular manslaughter. If convicted on all counts, she would face between 90 years and life imprisonment.
“Today, we begin the process of holding accountable the person responsible for the deaths of six people, including a pregnant woman, and their families,” Gascón said in a statement. “This is a case that will always be remembered for the senseless loss of so many innocent lives as they simply went about their daily routines.”
Police allege Linton was speeding when she drove her Mercedes through a red light and into a busy intersection and crashed into six vehicles, three of which burst into flames.
All told, six people died and five more were injured.
A young mother, Asherey Ryan, died in the crash as did her 11-month-old son Alonzo Quintero, boyfriend Reynold Lester, and the couple’s unborn baby, Armani Lester. Two other victims, both women, also died in the crash, but their names have not yet been released.
Linton’s Mercedes also struck an SUV carrying a family of seven people, some of whom were injured but all of whom survived.
By law, Linton can be charged with murder for Armani’s death, but not manslaughter.
“While the wreckage of this fiery crash at this intersection was removed and traffic eventually resumed, there is catastrophic damage to the families and friends of those killed and injured,” Gascón said. “It is not only a tremendous loss to the families but our entire community who learned of this incredible tragedy or have watched the now-viral video of the collision. I’m sure this is a time of great sorrow and grieving for the families and friends of those who will be forever affected by what has transpired.”
Linton, too, was hospitalized after the crash, prior to her arrest and arraignment.
Per a report from a Los Angeles ABC affiliate, Linton was initially held on $2 million bail, but that amount was increased to $9 million and then elevated to “held without bail” status.
As of this writing, authorities have not alleged any connection to drugs or alcohol. In the same ABC report, it was revealed that, during a Monday bail hearing, a defense attorney stated Linton suffered from “profound mental health issues.”
However, the prosecuting attorney argued Linton has a history of reckless driving and causing accidents, including a 2020 crash that resulted in injuries, but not death.