In court Monday, her attorney said his client had "documented profound mental health issues."
Nicole Lorraine Linton, the Houston nurse accused of causing the horrific Windsor Hills, California crash that claimed the lives of five people and an unborn child, has officially been charged in their deaths.
On Monday, Linton, 37, appeared in court for an arraignment, where the Los Angeles County district attorney charged her with six counts of murder and five counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. One murder charge was filed for the unborn fetus, but not an additional manslaughter charge.
Widely-circulated video from the crash showed a black Mercedes flying through a busy intersection, crashing into several vehicles before slamming into a gas station and bursting into flames. According to prosecutors, Linton was going 90mph at the time of the crash.
Among the killed were pregnant Asherey Ryan, 23, her 11-month-old son Alonzo Quintero and Ryan's boyfriend, Reynold Lester. They were reportedly on their way to a prenatal checkup when the crash happened. Two other women in another vehicle were also killed, but remain unidentified, while six additional people were treated for minor injuries.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the California Highway Patrol revealed Linton had been involved in 13 crashes prior to this one -- which prosecutors are reviewing. A 2020 crash reportedly involved body injury and two cars getting totaled, though prosecutors "did not elaborate on the nature of Linton's involvement" in those crashes.
During her arraignment on Monday, Linton appeared in a wheelchair and reportedly "sobbed" in court, but didn't enter a plea. The arraignment was continued to October. For now, she remains behind bars and her bail was denied after she was deemed a flight risk. She'll have another bail hearing next week.
Her lawyer, Halim Dhanidina, asked for the continuance so he could review her "documented profound mental health issues" out-of-state, per the Los Angeles Times -- and while he didn't get into the specifics of those "issues," the judge said Linton "should have been aware of her limitations" before getting behind the wheel.
"Today, we begin the process of holding accountable the person responsible for the deaths of six people, including a pregnant woman, and their families," District Attorney George Gascón said in a press release. "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. I want to thank our prosecutors and the investigating officers at the California Highway Patrol for their work on this case."
"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 continued. "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."
He concluded, "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."