A nurse accused of speeding into a Windsor Hills intersection and causing a crash that killed five people and an unborn baby was ordered Monday to remain jailed without bail.
Superior Court Judge Victoria B. Wilson said Nicole Lorraine Linton, 37, allegedly floored the gas pedal in her car and was driving at 130 mph just before the deadly crash Aug. 4 at La Brea and Slauson avenues and did not try to stop or slow down, with six people suffering “horrific deaths.”
Linton’s attorney, Halim Dhanidina, had asked the judge to allow Linton to be released to a mental health treatment facility and be electronically monitored, saying that the defendant wouldn’t be able to get up and leave.
Prosecutors objected to the request, with Deputy District Attorney Antonella Nistorescu telling the judge that a data recorder from Linton’s Mercedes-Benz indicated that she accelerated from 122 mph to 130 mph five seconds before the crash and that she maintained control of the steering wheel. The prosecutor said the defense’s suggestion that she suffered an “apparent lapse of consciousness” during a mental health crisis in the moments leading up to the crash “defies logic.”
Linton, a traveling nurse from Houston who was working at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, is charged with six counts of murder and five counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
“She stole six innocent lives,” the judge said, in turning down the defense’s request for Linton to be moved from a Los Angeles County jail.
Family members of the victims clapped in court upon hearing the judge’s decision.
Linton is accused of speeding her Mercedes into the intersection of La Brea and Slauson about 1:40 that afternoon, broadsiding a vehicle and causing a chain-reaction that killed 23-year-old Asherey Ryan of Los Angeles, who relatives said was 8 1/2 months pregnant.
Her unborn child, Armani Lester, died in the crash and is considered a victim, along with Ryan’s 11-month-old son Alonzo Quintero and 24-year-old boyfriend, Reynold Lester of Los Angeles.
They were all in one car, traveling to a prenatal doctor’s appointment for Ryan, relatives said.
Also killed in the crash were Nathesia Lewis, 43, and her friend, 38-year-old Lynette Noble, who were in another car.
Eight other people were injured.
Linton was hospitalized after the crash, but survived.
She was brought into the downtown Los Angeles courtroom in a wheelchair for her first two court appearances, but walked in using a crutch at the latest hearing.
In court papers filed last month, defense attorneys noted that Linton — now an unemployed nurse — was willing to be housed at UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital pending the outcome of the proceedings in her case. Her lawyers wrote in the filing that medical records from her treatment at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center immediately after the crash indicate that she has a “history of bipolar disorder.”
“While the District Attorney’s motion argues that Ms. Linton presents a risk to the public based on her `extremely reckless conduct combined with her mental health struggles,’ such risks would be abated if she were permitted to be housed in a mental health treatment facility where she would not have access to weapons, vehicles or other dangerous items and where she would be monitored and treated by mental health professionals,” Dhanidina and fellow defense attorney Jacqueline Sparagna wrote in their motion seeking to have Linton released on her own recognizance to the hospital.