WINDSOR HILLS, Calif. (KABC) — A woman has been arrested and publicly identified one day after the car she was driving plowed into vehicles at a crowded intersection in Windsor Hills, igniting a fire in a crash that killed six people, the California Highway Patrol announced Friday.
Nicole Lorraine Linton, 37, was taken into custody at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, the CHP said in a news release.
Charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence will be recommended when the case is presented to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, the Highway Patrol said.
Earlier Friday morning, authorities identified a pregnant woman and her unborn child as two of the six victims who were killed in the collision.
Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said Asherey Ryan and her unborn son died in the incident.
The coroner’s office did not immediately release the names of the other four deceased victims, but described them as a young boy, two women and a man.
The young child who died was Asherey Ryan’s son Alonzo Quintero, her sister said Friday in an interview with Eyewitness News.
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“I drove to the scene,” said Ryan’s sister, Seana Kerr. “I ran past the police officers just because I wanted to feel her energy one more time. Yesterday, I truly lost it. My family was broken yesterday, and we’re still broken.”
Kerr said her sister had just left her home to go to a doctor’s appointment.
“Everybody’s heartbroken,” said Kerr. “She literally walked out the door, because we all live together, and she said, ‘Ok, I love y’all. I’m going to my doctor’s appointment to check up on the baby.’ We asked, ‘Oh, why don’t you leave our nephew here?’ She said, ‘No, I want to take my son for a ride.’ So, knowing that really, really broke our hearts.”
Alonzo would have turned one-year-old on Aug. 17, his family said.
Meanwhile, Ryan’s mother said family members have set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses.
According to Ryan’s family, her boyfriend and father of her unborn baby Reynold Lester was also one of the people killed in the crash.
Ryan’s mom said Lester was 24 years old and worked as a security guard. Ryan was a stay-at-home mother and a student, according to her family.
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Shortly after 1:30 pm Thursday, a Mercedes-Benz coupe caused a crash involving as many as six cars near a gas station, according to the Highway Patrol.
Several people were ejected from the cars and two vehicles caught fire. News video from the scene showed the charred and mangled cars, as well as a child’s car seat among the debris covering the street.
Surveillance showed the Mercedes careening through an intersection, striking at least two cars that exploded in flames and were sent hurtling onto a sidewalk, winding up against the gas station’s corner sign. A fiery streak led to one car. One vehicle was sheared in half.
“It looked like the entire intersection from corner to corner was on fire,” said witness Harper Washington. “A lot of sparks and electricity. I was under the impression that, really at first, I thought they dropped a bomb on us. I thought another world war had started. Then I realized it was a car into the sign.”
“Once the fire went away and the booming left, I realized it was two cars there,” Washington said. “You could see the people on fire and that’s just sad. I really pray for the people and the community.”
Seven injured people were taken to the hospital, including Linton. Her injuries were described as non-life-threatening.
The other victims had minor injuries and included a 33-year-old woman and six children ranging in age from 13 months old to 15 years old, CHP Officer Franco Pepi said.
Witness Alphonso Word choked up as he described seeing Ryan and her son in the immediate aftermath of the crash.
“It hurts. It does,” Word said. “Because I have a grandson. I know people that have kids. For a mother to be pregnant … that child never had a chance.”
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office released the following statement Friday afternoon:
“My heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones in the horrific car collision that occurred yesterday in Windsor Hills. This incredible tragedy has sent shockwaves throughout Los Angeles and the loss of so many precious lives will have a lasting impact on those that are closest to them.Our office is in close contact with the lead law enforcement agency investigating. A prosecutor has already been assigned and will be working with law enforcement throughout the weekend. We will provide updates as more information becomes available. The case could be presented to us as early as Monday.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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