Windsor Hills Crash Suspect Nicole Linton Charged with Murder, Lawyers Argue She Had a Seizure
Anyone who saw the gas station surveillance video from the fiery car crash in Los Angeles, California on August 4, 2022, likely hasn’t forgotten it. But was there more than meets the eye with this crash?
On August 4, 2022, thirty-seven-year-old Nicole Linton, a traveling nurse from Texas blew through the intersection of La Brea and Slauson Avenues. Her Mercedes-Benz subsequently burst into flames, leaving active fire burning down the pavement and billowing smoke.
Six people died from the high-speed collision, including an eleven-month-old and an unborn baby. Eleven additional people were injured.
Linton survived the crash and was charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney with six counts of murder and five counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, according to the Los Angeles Times.
She faces life in prison if convicted of all charges, according to Times reporting.
Such severe charges are typically reserved for DUI offenders who have been convicted of a DUI offense and have taken DUI education classes.
Some news outlets reported that Linton was under the influence of alcohol, hinting at a California DUI; however, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón said shortly after charges were made that there was no evidence of alcohol in her system.
The District Attorney’s office is building its case against Linton around her previous dangerous driving behaviors, particularly after the California Highway Patrol investigators discovered she was involved in thirteen prior crashes.
Prosecutors are citing that with her history of dangerous crashes, she should have been aware of the hazards and repercussions of reckless driving.
Linton Denied Bail
A Los Angeles judge denied a motion to let her out of the city’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility and allow her to be treated in a psychiatric hospital. She remains in custody and under a “no bail” hold.
“We are disappointed with the judge’s ruling,” her attorney Jacqueline Sparagna said at the time, according to the New York Post. “We believe that a psychiatric lock-down hospital— where Nicole would not have been able to simply walk out— is the most appropriate place for her to remain pending this case. There’s no question here that this is a mental illness-related car accident, and she should be housed at a psychiatric facility where she can receive treatment and undergo the testing necessary to determine what actually happened.”
Prosecutors said data shows Linton floored her car for at least five seconds before reaching the intersection, reaching speeds of 122-130 mph.
The Times obtained motions and attachments filed by Linton’s defense attorneys that cite a “frightening” mental health crisis in the time before the crash. The attorneys also detailed her four-year struggle with bipolar disorder and unwillingness to continue bipolar medication after an online therapist told her she simply had anxiety.
After quitting her medications cold turkey and not sleeping for days, they say, she had a deteriorating mental health crisis that resulted in the crash.
“She has no recollection of the events that led to her collision,” wrote Doctor William Winter on Aug. 6. Winter treated Linton at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, according to The Times.
At the Crux of the Legal Argument
“Linton’s attorneys argued in their Aug. 29 bail motion the nurse lost consciousness as she drove her Mercedes into several cars, triggered by her bipolar disorder or a seizure,” according to the New York Post. “They asked that Linton be released with conditions so that she could be evaluated at the UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital.”
Meanwhile, prosecutors argued a psychiatric evaluation showed no indication of a seizure and reported that the vehicle’s data and surveillance video showed that she had “complete control over steering.”
“This NASCAR-worthy performance flies in the face of the notion that she was unconscious or incapacitated,” they added in a motion.
Pushing the Defense at the Preliminary Hearing
In an atypical move, Linton’s defense attorneys are planning to call a neurologist who specializes in epilepsy and seizures at the preliminary hearing.
Sparagna, Linton’s defense attorney, noted her client’s history of mental health issues and said she has had seizures in the past. The witness, she said, is a leading expert in seizures and epilepsy.
“Everything the doctor has reviewed is consistent with her having a seizure. People who fall asleep at the wheel go limp, but if they have a seizure, everything tenses up. This is consistent with why her foot was on the pedal,” she said, according to a recent article in the New York Post.
Linton pleaded not guilty to six counts of murder and five counts of vehicular manslaughter. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 17.
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