Linton, a traveling nurse from Texas, is accused of speeding through a red light at the crossing of South La Brea Avenue and Slauson Avenue in the Windsor Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. The fiery crash involved several cars and led to the deaths of five people, including an infant, and one unborn baby, and the injury of eight others. First responders took Linton to UCLA hospital directly following the crash for minor injuries. Prosecutors charged Linton with six counts of murder and 5 counts of gross negligence.
Originally, police estimated that Linton drove her Mercedes-Benz 90 mph into cross traffic the afternoon of August 4, but that number was apparently a low ball. Court papers filed late Friday by Los Angeles County district attorney’s office revealed what investigators found when they compared her vehicle’s on-board computer to surveillance video of the crash, the Los Angeles Times reports:
“Further analysis reveals that her speed at impact was in fact 130 mph and that she floored the gas pedal for at least the 5 seconds leading into the crash, going from 122 mph to 130 mph,” Friday’s court filing said.
Prosecutors said analysis of the Mercedes’ recorded data and surveillance video indicates that Linton had “complete control over steering, maintaining the tilt of the steering wheel to keep her car traveling directly toward the crowded intersection.”
“This NASCAR-worthy performance flies in the face of the notion that she was unconscious or incapacitated,” according to the filing.
This information directly contradicts the defense’s argument that Linton was unconscious or incapacitated during the crash. While reports that she was involved in over a dozen crashes in the years before this one proved false, Linton does have a documented history of mental health struggles. A similar motion filed by prosecutors detailed her mental health history, according to ABC7 News:
According to a motion filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office Monday, Linton has a history of mental health issues dating back to at least 2018. The motion says that Linton’s defense team has provided the DA’s office with information on multiple incidents, “which appear to be increasing in severity, ranging from the defendant jumping on police cars to jumping out of apartment windows,” in addition to multiple involuntary commitments to mental health facilities. Linton has also allegedly “has hurt herself more than once.”
Medical professionals treating Linton noted her history of bipolar disorder and involuntary holds at mental health facilities. She told doctors she had no recollection of what happened before the crash. Her four-year battle with mental health started during nursing school, according to Linton’s sister. In the hours before the crash, Linton seemed to be suffering another mental break. From the LA Times:
“In the days and hours leading up to the events of August 4, Nicole’s behavior became increasingly frightening,” her attorneys wrote.
Linton kept telling one of her sisters that her co-workers at the Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center were “acting weird,” her lawyers said. The day of the crash, Linton drove home from the hospital for lunch and FaceTimed her sister completely naked, according to the court papers.
Linton is being held without bond. A few weeks ago, Linton’s lawyers argued she should be moved from jail to a mental health facility, though prosecutors balked, arguing Linton was a danger to the community and a flight risk. The judge delayed ruling on the motion, moving a hearing to Monday.