Mercedes driver arrested in Windsor Hills crash that killed 5

Mercedes driver arrested in Windsor Hills crash that killed 5

A nurse has been arrested and faces charges of involuntary manslaughter in the fiery Windsor Hills accident that killed five people, including a pregnant woman, law enforcement sources confirmed to The Times on Friday.

Investigators have arrested 37-year-old Nicole Linton, who allegedly drove the overspeeding Mercedes-Benz that sped through traffic at the intersection of La Brea and Slauson Avenues. Linton is currently hospitalized and working with investigators from the California Highway Patrol, sources said.

News of her arrest came as the coroner released the name of the pregnant woman who died, Asherey Ryan, 23.

People light candles at a makeshift memorial across the street where a fiery crash involving several cars left five dead.
From left, Carmen Dorsey and London Carter pray as Vera Jones lights a candle at a memorial near the site of the accident in Windsor Hills. Five people were killed, including a pregnant woman.

(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Ryan, 8 1/2 months pregnant, was on her way to a doctor’s appointment with her boyfriend when the Mercedes crashed into their car. She and her boyfriend died, as did their 1-year-old baby and Ryan’s unborn child, according to Ryan’s sister. The county coroner has yet to release official IDs from anyone other than Ryan.

“I’ve already cried. I cried I haven’t slept a bit. I cried out,” Sha’seana Kerr, who posed as Ryan’s sister, said on Instagram. “We have four people to bury.”

When Kerr saw video of the crash shortly after the accident, she knew something was wrong.

“As soon as I see this video, it hits me, it hits another. I felt connected,” she wrote. “She’s taking my sister, my nephews, my brother-in-law with her. She took my son’s only cousin with her. We are hurt so deeply.”

CHP and first responders are investigating a fire accident that killed several people near a gas station in Windsor Hills.

California Highway Patrol officials and first responders are investigating an accident that killed several people near a gas station in Windsor Hills on Thursday.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

According to two law enforcement sources, authorities are checking Linton’s blood work to determine if she was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

She is scheduled to be formally charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney on Monday. A family member of Linton declined to speak to a Times reporter Friday.

Linton is likely charged with killing the unborn child as well as the five others.

Eight people were also injured in the accident.

Surveillance video shows a Mercedes-Benz hurtling down La Brea at high speed while dozens of cars cross the intersection on Slauson. The Mercedes runs a red light and crashes into cars at the intersection, then bursts into flames and crashes into a traffic light pole, where it comes to a stop.

A strip of fire burned on the ground after the crash.

Cotie Davis, 20, sister of Windsor Hills crash victim Asherey Ryan, speaks about the loss of her sister.

Cotie Davis, 20, sister of Windsor Hills crash victim Asherey Ryan, 23, eight months pregnant who was killed along with her almost 1-year-old son Alonzo, speaks about the loss of her sister.

(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Smoke could be seen for miles.

Officer Franco Pepi, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said Thursday afternoon that three adults, including a pregnant woman, and an infant were killed in the accident.

Authorities later found the remains of another person in one of the burned vehicles, he said. The gender or age of this person was not known as of Thursday evening.

Authorities took eight people to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for treatment, he said. Of those injured, six were youths and one suffered serious injuries.

A worker sweeps with a broom.

A worker cleans up the scene a day after a fiery multi-car crash that killed five at the corner of La Brea Avenue and Slauson Avenue in Windsor Hills.

(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

A woman, who asked not to be named, told the Times a Mercedes-Benz hit her car as she was exiting a United Oil service station.

“I got out, got gas,” she said. “All of a sudden this Mercedes comes towards me with … fire. I didn’t have time to think about it. It hit my car. I turned and hit the bench sideways.”

The crash made her fear a gas-powered explosion, she told the Times.

Nearby, Linton’s Mercedes-Benz had hit the curb and come to a stop.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known, but the CHP spokesman said investigators found the Mercedes-Benz was traveling “at high speed” and passed a red light on La Brea southbound.

At least six vehicles were involved in the accident, three of which burst into flames, Pepi said. The others took moderate damage.

People lean against a fence and look at the scene of an accident.

Local residents check the scene of the accident.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Mourners began gathering at the crash site on Friday. Road crews replaced the traffic lights damaged by the accident. Witnesses described a horrifying scene.

Eran Hall has been working at La Brea Gas across the street for about eight months and has seen several car crashes, but never like the one on Thursday.

“Everyone was just shocked,” Hall told the Times on Friday morning. “Some people started running away from the gas station because of all the flames. Other people started helping the drivers in the other cars, which were pushed aside.”

At least two people ran away with fire extinguishers, Hall said.

Henry Sanchez, who works at the Sinclair gas station, said the flames were getting out of control.

“At that point, it was just too late for people to do anything,” Sanchez said.

A car seat and other objects are scattered on the road after the fatal accident involving several cars.

A car seat and other objects are scattered on the road after the fatal accident involving several cars.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Before the accident, Sanchez heard the scraping sound of the car going down the hill.

“You can hear the tires crunching,” said Sanchez. “The sound stuck with me.”

Noel Senior, who works at Little Kingston Jamaican, heard a loud bang and as he stepped out of his shop and looked down the street he saw a column of flames lashing out at the gas station sign. “There was nothing we could have done. No one would come out of the fire,” Senior said.

“Everyone went through a process of not really knowing what to do and helping out as best they could,” said Jamarcus Robinson, who came to United Oil during a run for a powerade. “We saw a baby. There was a car seat on the street and a baby not far away.”

“I could hardly sleep at night,” he added.

Veronica Esquival told KTLA-TV Channel 5 that a baby was left at the intersection. “One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and took the baby from my hand. Someone tried to resuscitate the baby but the baby was gone,” she said.

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