Woman allegedly behind wheel in fiery, deadly L.A.-area crash in custody

Remembering lives lost in fiery crash in Windsor Hills


The alleged driver of a Mercedes Benz that sped past a crowded intersection and crashed into several vehicles in the Los Angeles County community of Windsor Hills Thursday was released from a hospital Sunday and was in custody at the Century Regional Detention Center in the city of Lynwood, also in L.A. County.

The crash claimed the lives of five people, including a pregnant mother and her infant son.  

37-year-old Nicole Lorraine Linton was arrested Friday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. 

The Houston native is a registered nurse and is likely to be charged on Monday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. 

Linton is being held on $9 million bail.

The crash involved as many as six vehicles near a gas station about 10 miles southwest of downtown L.A., according to the California Highway Patrol.

Several people were flung from the vehicles. 

Video 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 torn in half.

The car was doing at least 50 mph as it raced through the crowded intersection, California Highway Patrol officer Franco Pepi said.

Television reports showed the blackened and mangled cars, as well as a child’s car seat among the debris covering the street.

Pepi said eight people were taken hospitals, including the Mercedes’ driver.

Multiple people were killed in a fiery crash near a Windsor Hills gas station at the intersection of West Slauson and South La Brea avenues
Multiple people were killed near a Windsor Hills, Calif. gas station in a fiery crash on August 4, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA.

Jason Armond / / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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, Pepi said.

A witness to the crash, Veronica Esquivel, told CBS Los Angeles she tried to help the baby, but couldn’t. 

“I was about to pump gas and all of a sudden, I hear all of the noises from all of the collisions, and then the fire explosion and I saw things, metal and things flying in the air. So, I just covered myself behind the pump,” she told the station.

Esquival told KTLA-TV that the baby was ejected from the vehicle and landed near her.

“All of the sudden, a baby literally flew from the middle of the intersection to the middle of the gas station and landed right on the floor in front of me,” Esquival 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.”

Debra Jackson told CBS Los Angeles she was about to get out of her car to pump gas when she heard a big explosion.

“The flames just went over everybody,” Jackson said. “The flames went over my whole car and they told me to jump out of my car … because I was trying to get out of my car, to go to the gas pump. And I jumped out of my car and just left my car sitting right there.”     

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