Nurse’s vehicle hit 130 mph in crash that killed 5 in LA County, prosecutors say
A nurse accused of killing five people in a horrific collision in Los Angeles County “stepped on the accelerator pedal” at 130 mph just before the violent crash in August, prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday.
Data from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe that Nicole Linton was driving shows it accelerated in the 5 seconds before the Aug. 4 multi-vehicle crash, from 122 mph to 130 mph, according to a motion filed by the county of Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and obtained by NBC Los Angeles.
The document, filed to oppose the temporary release and bail of the 37-year-old traveling nurse, also alleged that the data showed that she had not tried to brake or slow down before the ‘impact.
The district attorney’s office argued in Friday’s filing that Linton’s release would pose a danger to the public and she was a flight risk.
A hearing on whether Linton might be eligible for pretrial release is scheduled for Monday in a Los Angeles Superior Court courtroom.
Linton, a Houston resident, was charged with six counts of murder and five counts of gross negligence manslaughter. One of the victims, Asherey Ryan, was pregnant.
Linton remained detained without bail, according to prison records.
Linton’s defense argued in a previous filing reported by the Los Angeles Times that she lost consciousness in the accident and that her mental health had deteriorated in recent years.
Friday’s prosecutor’s filing said the defense’s allegation of unconsciousness is not supported by Mercedes’ electronic data recorder or available medical records.
Analysis of recorded vehicle data and surveillance video indicates that Linton had “full control over the steering … to keep his car heading straight for the crowded intersection,” the filing said.
“This NASCAR-worthy performance belies the idea that she was unconscious or incapacitated,” the prosecution wrote in the document.
Doctors at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center who treated Linton after the accident said it did not appear that she fainted, passed out or suffered a seizure, the document says. .
Linton’s defense attorney, former California Court of Appeals judge Halim Dhanidina, said he would respond to prosecutors’ requests during Monday’s hearing.
“We plan to call a few witnesses, including a psychiatrist who met Ms Linton twice in prison and also reviewed relevant police and hospital records up to August 4 and prior incidents,” he said. he said by e-mail.
The prosecutor’s office said Linton claimed to have bipolar disorder. She admitted to experiencing symptoms consistent with impairment before the accident, but was not taking prescribed medication that could have prevented the symptoms, the document said.
Linton told investigators she hadn’t slept for at least four days before the collision because stress in her life caused her to lose sleep, according to the prosecutors’ filing. She said avoiding her medication led to insomnia, he said.
On Aug. 4, Linton said she was working a 12-hour shift and said her lack of sleep made up for her duties, including giving patients medication on time, according to Friday’s filing.
The filing says Linton “believed that the cause of his crash was his fatigue.”
In jail calls with her sister, Linton “acknowledged that she should not have gone to work the day of the accident, stating that ‘five people died because of me,'” the document says.
Prosecutors pointed to several instances where Linton had been involved in prior crashes, the document said.
Between 2008 and 2009, she was stopped at least three times for speeding. Linton was also involved in a 2008 car accident in New York that resulted in “bodily injury and property damage,” according to the document.
The document also detailed instances where Linton displayed what prosecutors called “aggressive and violent” behavior.
In an interview with California Highway Patrol officers, Linton recalled the moments leading up to the crash, including the music she was listening to, and said she remembered driving straight ahead and seeing a car passing in front of her from left to right, the document says.
The last thing she remembered was going straight before waking up on the ground in front of her burning car, according to the document.
Security footage showed the moment Linton’s Mercedes-Benz drove through a red light in Windsor Hills, about 10 miles southwest of downtown LA
The video showed cars driving from left to right in front of Linton no more than 9 seconds before she crossed the intersection, according to the documents.
In a statement Saturday, Kaiser Permanente said Linton was employed by an entity called AMN Healthcare and hired to work at Kaiser Permanente on a temporary basis. She was not traveling for the company at the time of the accident, he added.
Crash victims identified by authorities and family include Ryan, 23; his 11-month-old son, Alonzo Quintero; and her boyfriend, Reynold Lester, 23.
Ryan’s fetus did not survive. Family members said Ryan and Lester planned to name the child Armani.
Authorities have not publicly confirmed the names of the other two victims, but family and friends have identified them in Los Angeles Times like Nathesia Lewis, 42, and Lynette Noble, 38. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner says both women died on August 4.
An update on the California Highway Patrol’s investigation of the collision was not available Saturday.