A 37-year-old woman has been charged with homicide by vehiclenear 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 it ran a red light and crashed into several vehicles in Windsor Hills, a neighborhood southeast of downtown LA
Linton remains hospitalized with moderate injuries and has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide with gross negligence, the CHP said. Her case is being forwarded to the LA County District Attorney’s Office.
“Our office is in close contact with the lead law enforcement agency investigating,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement. “A prosecutor has already been assigned and will be working with law enforcement through the weekend. We will provide updates as more information becomes available. The case could be presented to us as early as Monday.”
The violent crash was caught on security video. Several people were ejected and two vehicles were engulfed in flames, the CHP said.
The car was going at least 50 mph when 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 boy Ryan” in the online medical records. Two other women and a man, as well as a boy, were killed, but their names were not released.
Pepi said eight others were injured, including Linton. The other victims had minor injuries and included a 33-year-old woman and six children ranging in age from 13 months to 15 years, Pepi said.
The CHP said Friday that “due to extensive fire damage, it is currently unknown the make and model of the vehicles involved and the vehicle the parties involved were traveling in.”
A memorial emerged outside the crossing on Friday, as mourners left flowers and candles in memory of the dead.
Henry Sanchez, who works at nearby Sinclair Gas, was at the indoor register when he heard “the loudest noise I’ve ever heard.”
“The sound of it, it was gut-wrenching,” he told The Associated Press on Friday. “It was like two trains hitting each other, metal on metal.”
He saw people rushing to the cars to offer help, but they were held back by the flames until the fire department arrived.
“I remember everyone trying to put the fire down and help people out as much as they could, but nobody could do anything,” he said.
Another witness to the crash, Veronica Esquivel, told KTLA-TV that a baby 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 the baby out of my hands… Someone tried to revive the baby but the baby was gone.”
Debra Jackson told CBS Los Angeles that she was getting out of her car to pump gas when she heard a large explosion.
“The flames just went over everybody,” Jackson said. “The flames went all over my 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 left my car sitting there .”