A traveling nurse from Houston accused of barrelling through a red light at 130 mph, and causing a fiery wreck that killed six people, including an 8-month pregnant woman and her unborn child, may have had a seizure, her lawyer said.
Nicole Linton’s attorney, Jacqueline Sparagna, says her client was incapacitated by a seizure when she tore through a Los Angeles intersection in August.
At a hearing last week, Sparagna told the judge she intended to call a mental health and neurological expert to testify at a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for a trial.
“The misinformation about Nicole should be put to rest for good. Namely, she was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs; she does not have 13 prior car accidents; she was not in a fight with her boyfriend (She does not even have a boyfriend); and she was not suicidal,” said Sparagna, an associate at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP in Los Angeles, in a statement to Law&Crime. “Rather, she was suffering from mental health issues that culminated in a seizure. Period.”
Linton, 37, of Houston, faces six counts of murder and five counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the Aug. 4 crash in Windsor Hills, prosecutors said in a news release. Windsor Hills is about 9 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. She could face life in prison, prosecutors said.
LA County District Attorney George Gascón said the crash “will always be remembered for the senseless loss of so many innocent lives as they simply went about their daily routines.”
“While the wreckage of this fiery crash at this intersection was removed and traffic eventually resumed, there is catastrophic damage to the families and friends of those killed and injured,” he said. “It is not only a tremendous loss to the families but our entire community who learned of this incredible tragedy or have watched the now-viral video of the collision. I’m sure this is a time of great sorrow and grieving for the families and friends of those who will be forever affected by what has transpired.”
Linton allegedly barreled through a red light at Slauson and La Brea avenues as her Mercedes-Benz crashed into several vehicles, causing a fiery wreck, authorities said. Surveillance video captured the crash. The Los Angeles Times said it was “one of the most gruesome scenes on Los Angeles streets in recent years.”
Killed were Asherey Ryan, 23, her unborn boy, her 11-month-old son, Alonzo, and the father of the unborn child and Ryan’s fiancé, Reynold Lester. Two other women Nathesia Lewis, 43, and her friend Lynette Noble, 38, who were in another car, were also killed.
Six other vehicles were involved in the collision. Five other people had minor injuries.
Ryan’s sister Cotie Davis told FOX 11 that her worst fears had come true. Davis told the station her sister was driving to a baby doctor when the crash happened.
“I used to pray all the time to keep my sister safe,” Davis told FOX 11, shaking and in tears. “I’m in shock. I can’t believe I’m walking and talking and I’ll never see her again. She was so supportive.”
She was the oldest of five sisters and worked as a security guard.
“There’s always going to be a hole in my heart,” Davis said. “My sister, who I grew up with every day. She was like my best friend.”
On a website called “Nicole’s Story,” Linton’s family called the crash a tragic accident and documented her struggles with mental health.
“I understand and acknowledge the pain, anger, frustration, and sadness that so many are feeling,” her sister wrote. “Our hearts are equally broken for the suffering of the families who lost their loved ones on August 4th.
“What happened on August 4th did not happen on purpose but was a tragic accident.”
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