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Woman charged in fiery LA crash that killed 6 people involved in 13 prior wrecks

Screen shot from CBS Los Angeles YouTube video

A traveling nurse from Houston, Texas, has been charged in the horrific car crash in which six people were killed just outside Los Angeles last week, and prosecutors claim that she has a long history of reckless driving.

Police say that Nicole Lorraine Linton, 37, of Texas was behind the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz that blew through a red light last Thursday while traveling at a high speed, causing a multi-car crash that left eight cars mangled and six people dead. Video captured of the crash suggests that the driver of the Mercedes did not apply the brakes before slamming into other cars and a gas station pole.

Though California Highway Patrol spokesman Franco Pepi initially estimated that the driver was going at least 50 mph, authorities now believe the car may have been going as fast as 90 mph.

Prosecutors have charged Linton with six counts of murder and five counts of vehicular homicide. An entire family perished in the crash: Asherey Ryan, 23; her unborn child, Armani Lester, who was 8 1/2 months along; her 24-year-old boyfriend, Reynold Lester; and their infant son Alonzo, who was 11 months. Two other women died in the crash, but their names have not yet been released. Eight others suffered minor injuries.

Linton suffered a broken foot and wrist in the crash.

According to prosecutors, Linton has been involved in 13 prior car wrecks, some in California and some elsewhere. Back in 2020, she was involved in a crash that totaled two cars and inflicted bodily injury on at least one person. She has no California driver's license, though whether she has a license in another state is unknown.

Her attorney Halim Dhanidina also claims that she has a lengthy history of "documented, profound mental health issues."

District Attorney George Gascón does not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash, although he has not eliminated the possibility.

Linton was scheduled to travel to Hawaii soon, so prosecutors argued that she was a flight risk. As a result, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Natalie Stone denied Linton bail, which had been set at $9 million.

Linton appeared in court in a wheelchair, but did not enter a plea. Her next court appearance is scheduled for August 15. She faces 90 years to life in prison, if convicted.

"Today, we begin the process of holding accountable the person responsible for the deaths of six people, including a pregnant woman, and their families," Gascón said in a statement Monday. "This is a case that will always be remembered for the senseless loss of so many innocent lives as they simply went about their daily routines."

Gascón also stated that California law prevented him from charging Linton with the death of the unborn child.

Below is a video from CBS Los Angeles:

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