Mercedes driver arrested in Windsor Hills fiery crash that killed five

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 5, 2022 -- Carmen Dorsey, from left, and London Carter pray as Vera Jones lights a candle at a makeshift memorial across the street where a fiery, multi-car crash left six dead, including one pregnant woman, and injured others in Windsor Hills in Los Angeles on Aug. 5, 2022. The accident happened on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

From left, Carmen Dorsey and London Carter pray as Vera Jones lights a candle at a memorial near the site of Thursday’s fiery multi-car accident in Windsor Hills. Five people were killed, including a pregnant woman. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

A registered nurse has been arrested and will be charged with manslaughter by a vehicle in the fiery crash in Windsor Hills that killed five people, including a pregnant woman, law enforcement sources confirmed to The Times on Friday.

Nicole Linton, a nurse registered to practice in California and Texas, was identified as the driver of the Mercedes-Benz traveling 80 to 100 miles per hour on La Brea Ave to Slauson at the time of the crash Thursday afternoon. Avenue roared. according to sources. She is currently in the hospital working with investigators from the California Highway Patrol.

According to two law enforcement sources, authorities are checking Linton’s blood tests to determine if she was intoxicated.

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

Her arrest comes the same day the county coroner identified the pregnant woman who died in the high-speed crash as Asherey Ryan, 23. It was not immediately known which car she was in or how she was involved in the crash.

Ryan was eight months pregnant at the time of the crash, a source said. Linton is likely charged with killing the unborn child and the five others.

Other than Ryan and her baby, the other names of the victims have not been released by the coroner.

Eight people were also injured in the crash.

CHP and emergency personnel investigate a fiery crash that killed several people near a gas station in Windsor Hills.

California Highway Patrol officers and first responders are investigating an accident Thursday that killed several people near a gas station in Windsor Hills. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Surveillance video shows a Mercedes-Benz speeding through La Brea as dozens of cars cross the intersection at Slauson. The Mercedes runs a red light and collides with cars at the intersection, then bursts into flames and crashes into a light pole, where it comes to a stop.

After the crash, a streak of fire burned on the ground.

Smoke could be seen from miles away.

Agent Franco Pepi, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said Thursday afternoon that three adults, including a pregnant woman, and a baby were killed in the crash.

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

Authorities took eight people to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for treatment, he said. Six of the injured were teenagers and one suffered serious injuries.

A worker sweeps with a broom.

A worker clears the place one day after a fiery multi-vehicle collision leaves five dead on the corner of La Brea and Slauson Avenues in Windsor Hills. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

A woman who declined to be named told The Times that a Mercedes-Benz hit her car as she exited a United Oil gas station.

“I got out, got gas,” she said. “Suddenly that Mercedes came at me…fire. I didn’t have time to think about it. It hit my car. I swerved, hit the side sofa.”

The crash scared her of a petrol explosion, she told The Times.

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

People lean on a fence and watch a crash scene.

Local residents check the scene of the fatal accident. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, but the CHP spokesman said investigators determined the Mercedes-Benz was traveling “at high speed” and ran a red light while heading south on La Brea.

The crash involved at least six vehicles, three of which went up in flames, Pepi said. The others sustained moderate damage.

Rescuers comfort each other at the scene of an accident.

Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department hug at the scene of the multiple fatality accident. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

The mourners began to gather at the crash site on Friday. Road workers were busy replacing the traffic lights damaged by the accident. Witnesses described a gruesome scene.

Eran Hall has worked at La Brea Gas across the street for about eight months and has been in several car accidents, but never like Thursday’s.

“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. Others started helping the drivers in the other cars that were being pushed aside.”

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

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

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

Before the crash, Sanchez heard the scraping sound of the car coming down the hill.

“You can hear the tires screeching,” Sanchez said. “The sound has stayed with me.”

Noel Senior, who works at Little Kingston Jamaican, heard a loud bang, and as he stepped outside his business and looked down the street, he saw a column of flames blazing at the gas station sign. “We couldn’t have done anything. No one would come out of the fire,” Senior said.

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

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

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

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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