Content warning: This article contains footage some may find disturbing.
UPDATED 8/9 11:16 a.m. ET: Nicole Linton is now charged with six counts of murder and five counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has announced.
In a statement, Gascón said these charges initiates the larger process of holding the person responsible for “the senseless loss” of “innocent lives” in the La Brea Boulevard crash.
“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,” Gascón said. “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. 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.”
Per a report from the Los Angeles Times, investigators have discovered Linton’s involvement in “13 prior crashes,” although there is currently “no evidence” that Linton was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the fatal crash.
Meanwhile, as TMZ reported on Tuesday, Issa Rae has donated to a GoFundMe arranged by the family of pregnant 23-year-old crash victim Asherey Ryan, whose 11-month-old son Alonzo also died in the crash. According to the outlet, Rae made a donation of $2,500 to the fundraiser, which had raised nearly $160,000 at the time of this writing.
UPDATED 8/5 6:03 p.m. ET: The suspected driver in the fatal crash has been arrested, California Highway Patrol said. Nicole Lorraine Linton was taken into custody on Friday after sustaining multiple injuries and is suspected of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Linton is expected to face charges from the county prosecutor soon.
See original story below.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department first said Thursday afternoon that officials had been dispatched to what they initially described as a “multiple casualty incident” in Windsor Hills. Per a report from the Associated Press, the driver in question—who survived the crash but was hospitalized with severe injuries—slammed into multiple other cars at the busy intersection after running a red light shortly after 1:30 p.m. local time.
In a subsequent update, the LACOFD, which noted the crash remained under “active investigation” as of Thursday evening, said five people were dead at the scene and another nine were injured. Of those injuries, eight were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.
At a press conference on Thursday evening, a spokesperson with the California Highway Patrol fielded questions about the status of the investigation, with the ultimate takeaway being that authorities were still largely relying on preliminary info at the time.
“As far as the specifics as to how many were in each vehicle and as far as how many were ejected, that’s still preliminary. It’s still an ongoing investigation,” the spokesperson told reporters, as seen in the CBS Los Angeles-shared video below. “We do not know exactly how many were in each vehicle. We’re still tying to piece that stuff together since it’s still an active, ongoing investigation.”
As for additional details on the driver, the rep was able to confirm only that “a 40-year-old female” was behind the wheel. Pushed for insight on how fast, exactly, the woman was driving when she ran the stop light, the rep noted that she was indeed driving at “a high rate of speed,” although the exact speed remained unknown.
“It’s very obvious from the video everyone’s seen at this point that it was a tremendous, high rate of speed,” he said. “Obviously we weren’t out here to necessarily have a radar or anything out but we can say it was a high rate of speed, at minimum at least 50 to 60 miles an hour and/or higher.”
A pregnant woman and an infant have been confirmed to have been among those who were killed as a result of the crash. While an updated statement from CHP on Thursday night noted that the death count had been raised to six following the discovery of another body inside one of the burned vehicles, NBC Los Angeles’ report points out that this number from law enforcement officials counted the fetus.
Complex has reached out to reps with CHP and LACOFD for additional comments and clarification. This post may be updated.