Tragic Details Of The Deadly California Crash That Killed Six People

The Windsor Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles was the site of a horrific multi-car crash on Thursday, August 4, when a car traveling at a high rate of speed collided with multiple vehicles. Daily Beast reports that a Mercedes barreled through a red light at the intersection of La Brea and Slauson, where security camera footage from a convenience store captured shocking footage.

Prosecutors allege that the driver of the Mercedes, 37-year-old Nicole Linton, was traveling at an estimated 90 mph in a 35 mph zone when she attempted to drive through a red light. The security camera footage shows Linton's vehicle slamming into traffic, resulting in an immediate fireball from one of the cars that she struck. Officials on the scene described the incident as a "fiery wreck," in which multiple vehicles quickly became engulfed in flames.

The high-speed collision sent Linton to the hospital, where she was treated for serious injuries. Others involved in the accident were not so lucky.

Among the dead is an 11-month-old baby

The New York Post reports that there were multiple fatalities from the six vehicles that were involved in the fiery collision that afternoon. In an accident that a California Highway Patrolman described as looking like a "war zone," burned-out hulks of vehicles and the smashed parts of cars littered the scene. 

Authorities stated that the multi-vehicle wreck took the lives of six people. Among the dead are Asherey Ryan and her family. The 23-year-old woman was traveling when her vehicle was struck by Linton's. Perishing with Ryan were her boyfriend, Reynold Lester, and her 11-month-old son, Alonzo Quintero. Ryan was eight months pregnant at the time of the accident, and the family was en route to see her doctor at the time of the crash. Ryan's unborn child was listed as one of the six fatalities (per Yahoo News).

In addition to Ryan and her family, there were two other women from other vehicles killed in the accident. Their names have yet to be released to the public. 

Linton is considered a flight risk

Linton was staying temporarily in the Los Angeles area, working as a traveling nurse from Texas. She was under contract with Kaiser Permanente's West LA Medical Center. Prosecutors charged her Monday with six counts of murder and five counts of vehicular manslaughter. The New York Post reports that Linton was released from the hospital and arrested. As of this writing, Linton is being held at the LA County's Century Regional Detention Facility. Various news outlets also reported several additional items of interest involving her bond. According to Daily Beast, Linton's attorney requested a $300,000 bond at Monday's hearing, which was denied. NBC News 4 Los Angeles adds that though her bail amount is now $9 million, it was initially set at $2 million, with no explanation yet as to why it was increased.

On Tuesday morning, the Los Angeles Times reported an update on Linton's bail. The outlet reported that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Natalie Stone denied the $9 million bail by request of the district attorney's office, which said Linton was a flight risk. Linton was set to travel to Hawaii for her job.

Linton appeared in court at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center on Monday to have the charges read to her. Seated in a wheelchair, presumably necessary from her crash-related injuries, the defendant was seen with tears streaming down her face at several points during the hearing.

One vehicle struck by Linton had six children on board

There were other casualties from Thursday's wreck who may have narrowly escaped death. An SUV driven by Grace Ortiz was one of the vehicles involved. The woman was driving with six children that afternoon when she passed through a green light at the Windsor Hills intersection. Linton's Mercedes Benz slammed into the rear passenger side quarter-panel of Ortiz's SUV, sending it spinning around several times. According to Ortiz (above), "It turned us around and as it was turning us around we see a big flame. I just can't believe we are alive."

The accident could have been fatal for Ortiz and the children on board her vehicle. Regardless of her relief about narrowly escaping what could have been an untimely death, Ortiz is understandably shaken at what she and others witnessed. She told NBC News 4 Los Angeles that her children were "screaming, crying. They were screaming, 'The baby, the baby!' I didn't want to turn around because I thought it was going to be my baby."

The baby turned out to be 11-month-old Alonzo Quintero, who had been ejected from the vehicle of his mother, Asherey Ryan. Ortiz and the children riding with her were lucky to only escape with minor injuries.

Linton hired a high-profile LA attorney

Linton hired attorney Halim Dhanidina to represent her. In court Monday, Dhanidina requested that Linton's arraignment be continued until a date in October. He argued that he needed time to investigate what he felt was a lengthy medical history of his client, including what he described as serious mental health issues (via Los Angeles Times). 

Dhanidina is a retired associate justice for the Second District of the California Court of Appeals. In his time on the bench, he presided over nearly 1,000 appeals cases. This, after a stint as a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court where he was the judge in over 70 jury trials. Since he retired from the bench, he has been a practicing attorney with Werksman Jackson & Quinn in Los Angeles. 

At this time, the crash remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. It is not yet known whether or not alcohol or drugs were a factor in the fatal crash.

Linton faces up to 90 years in prison if convicted

The accident in Windsor Hills may unfortunately not be the first one that Linton has been involved in. Prosecutors allege that Linton was behind the wheel of more than a dozen auto accidents in multiple states. Of the 13 accidents that prosecutors cited, one was a serious incident in 2020 that involved two vehicles being totaled (via the Los Angeles Times). 

At this point, prosecutors have revealed no additional details about Linton's driving history. But when as the case unfolds in court over the following months, it is expected that more information about Linton, her driving record, and possibly her medical history will be factors for the state to consider.

Fox 29 News Houston reports that Linton is due back in front of the judge on August 15 for a formal bail review. Her judge granted Linton's attorney's request for the continuation of the arraignment, which is scheduled for October 26. If convicted on all charges, Linton faces a maximum penalty of 90 years in a California state prison.