A nurse accused of killing five in a horrific Los Angeles County collision “floored the gas pedal” to 130 mph just before the fiery August crash, prosecutors alleged in court filing Friday.
Data from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe that Nicole Linton was driving show she accelerated in the 5 seconds before the multi-vehicle Aug. 4 crash, going from 122 mph to 130 mph, according to a motion filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and obtained by NBC Los Angeles.
The document, filed to oppose pretrial release and bail for the 37-year-old traveling nurse, also alleged that data showed she did not try to brake or slow down before impact.
The district attorney’s office argued in Friday’s filing that releasing Linton would present a danger to the public, and that she is a flight risk.
A hearing on the whether Linton could be eligible to be released before trial is scheduled for Monday in an L.A. Superior Court courtroom.
Linton, a Houston resident, has been charged with six counts of murder and five counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. One of the victims, Asherey Ryan, was pregnant.
Linton remained held without bail, jail records show.
Linton’s defense argued in a previous filing reported on by the Los Angeles Times that she had a lapse of consciousness during the crash, and that her mental health had deteriorating in recent years.
The D.A.’s Friday filing said the defense’s claim of loss of consciousness is not supported by the Mercedes’ electronic data recorder or by available medical records.
Analysis of the vehicle’s recorded data and surveillance video indicates Linton had “complete control over steering … to keep her car traveling directly toward the crowded intersection,” the filing stated.
“This NASCAR-worthy performance flies in the face of the notion that she was unconscious or incapacitated,” the prosecution wrote in the document.
Doctors at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center who treated Linton after the crash, said it did not appear that she had fainted, passed out, or experienced a seizure, the document states.
Linton defense attorney, former California appeals court judge Halim Dhanidina, said he would respond to prosecutors’ claims during the hearing Monday.
“We expect to call a few witnesses including a psychiatrist who has met with Ms. Linton twice at the jail and has also reviewed relevant police and hospital records attendant to Aug. 4 and prior incidents,” he said by email.
The D.A.’s office stated Linton has claimed to have bipolar disorder. She admitted to experiencing symptoms consistent with impairment before the crash, but was not taking prescribed medication that could have prevented the symptoms, according to the document.
Linton told investigators she had not slept for at least four days before the collision because stress in her life caused her to lose sleep, according to prosecutors’ filing. She said avoiding her medication led to insomnia, it stated.
On Aug. 4, Linton said she worked a 12-hour shift, and reported that her lack of sleep was catching up to duties, including giving patients medication on time, according to the Friday filing.
The filing states Linton “opined that the cause of her collision was her fatigue.”
In jail calls with her sister, Linton “acknowledged that she should not have gone to work on the day of the crash, stating, “five people are dead because of me,” the document stated.
Prosecutors pointed out several instances where Linton had been involved in prior crashes, the document states.
Between 2008 and 2009, she was stopped at least three times for speeding. Linton was also involved in a car crash in 2008 in New York that resulted in “personal injury and property damage,” according to the document.
The document also detailed instances where Linton displayed what prosecutors said was “aggressive, violent” behavior.
In an interview with California Highway Patrol officers, Linton recalled the moments before the crash, including what music she was listening to, and said she remembered driving straight and seeing a car pass in front of her from left to right, the document states.
The last thing she remembered was going straight before she woke up on the ground outside her burning car, according to the document.
Security footage showed the moment Linton’s Mercedes-Benz plowed through a red light in Windsor Hills, about 10 miles southwest of downtown L.A.
The video showed cars traveling from left to right in front of Linton no more than 9 seconds before she drove through the intersection, the documents state.
In a statement Saturday, Kaiser Permanente said Linton was employed by an entity called AMN Healthcare and contracted to work at Kaiser Permanente on a temporary basis. She was not traveling for the company at the time of the crash, it said.
Victims of the crash identified by authorities and family include Ryan, 23; her 11-month-old son, Alonzo Quintero; and her boyfriend, Reynold Lester, 23.
Ryan’s fetus did not survive. Family members said Ryan and Lester had planned to name the child Armani.
Officials have not publicly confirmed the names of the two other victims, but family and friends identified them to the Los Angeles Times as Nathesia Lewis, 42, and Lynette Noble, 38. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner lists both women as having died Aug. 4.
An update on the California Highway Patrol investigation of the collision was not available Saturday.