Witnesses looked on with horror after a crash in the Windsor Hills Thursday that was caused by a speeding driver who ran through a red light.
“It’s just like a bomb. A child was in the street…had got ejected. A pregnant mother was lying over to the side,” Alphonso Word told KTLA.
Investigators believe the driver of a Mercedes was traveling at more than 100 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone when she plowed into cars at the intersection of South La Brea and Slauson avenues around 1:40 p.m., killing six people and injuring eight others.
Several people were ejected from vehicles as a result of the crash, and two vehicles were engulfed in flames, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Among those killed: 23-year-old Asherey Ryan, of Los Angeles, her unborn child, and her infant.
CHP officials said the driver, who survived the crash, was arrested.
Crash driver identified
The driver was identified Friday as 37-year-old Nicole Lorraine Linton.
The California Highway Patrol forwarded the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and recommended vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence charges.
Linton is a nurse registered to practice in California and Texas, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a statement Friday, L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón said a prosecutor has been assigned to the case and that charges could be presented as early as Monday.
“My heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones in the horrific car collision … 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,” Gascón said.
Witness Veronica Esquival was at the gas station when the crash occurred.
“All of a sudden a baby literally flew from the middle of the intersection to the middle of the gas station, landed right on the floor in front of me,” Esquivel said. “One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and took the baby out of my hands. Somebody tried to resuscitate the baby but the baby was gone.”
“It’s the kids. That’s what touched me more than anything. It’s the children. The ones that didn’t get a chance,” Word said.
Six children and two adults were among those hospitalized after the crash.
Linton had to be extricated from her vehicle.
Police have not confirmed whether alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash, but a friend of the suspect told KTLA she may have been impaired following a fight with her boyfriend.
“She was drinking and she was not aware it was a red light because she shot straight through,” the woman said.
Repairs are ongoing at the intersection and traffic is expected to be impacted through Friday evening, according to Los Angeles County Public Works.
“Public works crews are currently occupying one southbound lane on La Brea Avenue, reducing the roadway to two southbound travel lanes. … We anticipate extensive traffic delays and request motorist, and pedestrians avoid this intersection until repairs to the traffic signal are completed,” the department said in a press release.
Anyone with additional information about the crash is asked to call the CHP’s West L.A. office at 310-642-3939.