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Mercedes driver charged with murder in crash that killed 5 in Windsor Hills

A registered nurse was charged Monday with six counts of murder and five counts of gross vehicular manslaughter in connection with a fiery crash in Windsor Hills last week that killed a pregnant woman, a baby and three other adults, the Los Angeles County district attorney announced.

Nicole Lorraine Linton, 37, is accused of reckless disregard for life in connection with Thursday’s multi-vehicle crash. Prosecutors say the Los Angeles woman was behind of the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz that was speeding up to 100 mph when she ran a red light shortly after 1:30 p.m. and plowed into through traffic at the busy intersection of La Brea and Slauson avenues.

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón said Linton faces up to 90 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

“In an instant, Ms. Linton’s conduct took the lives of six people and injured many others,” Gascón said.

To get a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors must prove she acted with implied malice and knew the act of driving at a high speed on city streets area was dangerous to human life.

Usually, such cases are brought if the driver is under the influence and has a prior DUI conviction after subsequent DUI education classes. In Linton’s case, investigators have found Linton has a history of dangerous crashes and knew the threat posed by her driving behavior, prosecutors said.

However, he said there is no evidence of any alcohol use by Linton at this point.

“I know that some of you spoke to a woman that alleged they have been drinking together. The CHP is working to identify this person, but we don’t have any further information,” Gascón said.

The D.A. declined to discuss what prompted the crash, saying it was still under investigation and he was “not going to get into the details.”

Gascon said the murder charges against Linton are for the deaths of 23-year-old Asherey Ryan, her boyfriend, their 1-year-old child, Alonzo Quintero, and their unborn child. Ryan was 8½ months pregnant when she was killed. The boy she was carrying at the time was named Armani Lester, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. His date of birth and date of death fell on the same day.

“A young family was destroyed in the blink of an eye,” Gascón said in announcing the charges against Linton.

Linton also was charged with murder for the deaths of two unidentified women killed in the crash. The five counts of vehicular manslaughter against her are for the deaths of the four adults and the 1-year-old. Ryan’s unborn child cannot be included in those charges.

Times staff writer Nathan Solis contributed to this report.

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