Nurse Charged After Deadly L.A. Crash Might Have Lost Consciousness Before Crash, Suffered Mental Health Break

Citing court documents, the Los Angeles Times reports Nicole Linton, 37, experienced an "apparent lapse of consciousness" at the time of the fiery collision earlier this month

Nicole Linton appears in Los Angeles Superior Court for arraignment on murder charges stemming from a traffic accident, in Los Angeles. Linton, suspected of causing a fiery crash that killed five people and an 8 1/2-month-old fetus near Los Angeles, has been charged with murder, as well as vehicular manslaughter, and is being held on $9 million bail California-Deadly Crash, Los Angeles, United States - 08 Aug 2022
Nicole Linton . Photo: Frederick M Brown/AP/Shutterstock

Attorneys for the travel nurse who was charged with murder after a fiery crash killed six, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child, on a Los Angeles roadway, say she might have lost consciousness moments before the deadly crash.

Citing court documents filed by her defense attorneys Halim Dhanidina and Jacqueline Sparagna, the Los Angeles Times reports 37-year-old Nicole Linton experienced an "apparent lapse of consciousness" at the time of the deadly collision earlier this month, according to doctors.

Linton was said to be driving about 90 miles per hour when she allegedly bypassed a red light and zoomed through a busy intersection, killing 23-year-old pregnant mother Asherey Ryan, her infant son Alonzo, 24-year-old Reynold Lester, 38-year-old Lynette Noble, and 43-year-old Nathesia Lewis by smashing her Mercedes-Benz into at least six vehicles, according to earlier reporting by PEOPLE.

Linton — who has been in jail since the crash — has been charged with five counts of manslaughter and six counts of murder, including the death of Ryan's unborn baby.

While treating Linton at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Dr. William Winter wrote she reportedly did not remember the events leading up to the crash, per the Times.

"She has no recollection of the events that led to her collision," he wrote, according to the paper. "The next thing she recalled was lying on the pavement and seeing that her car was on fire."

Winter also noted Linton had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder four years prior, in addition to her "lapse of consciousness" at the time of the collision.

According to the Times, Linton's family corroborated her 4-year mental health struggle.

Her sister Camille Linton wrote in a letter to the court that while studying to be a nurse anesthetist at the University of Texas in Houston, "the stress was too much for her and it 'broke' her, thus beginning the journey of Nicole's 4-year struggle with mental illness," the outlet reports.

Linton reportedly suffered a panic attack in May 2018 and ran out of her apartment.A few days later, she was diagnosed as bipolar and prescribed medication, the Times writes.

Over a year later, she was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward after a neighbor reportedly saw her running naked around her apartment complex, according to the court documents, per the outlet.

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"In the days and hours leading up to the events of August 4, Nicole's behavior became increasingly frightening," the defense wrote in the court documents, according to the outlet.

Linton's lawyers state on the day of the crash, she left the hospital where she worked during her lunch break and FaceTimed her sister while naked, per the paper. She then returned to work only to leave again, calling her sister to let her know minutes before the collision.

Now, Linton's lawyers are arguing for her transfer to the UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, so that she may undergo further testing.

"Ms. Linton would be most appropriately housed in a mental health treatment facility where she can be monitored and treated for her illness," her attorneys wrote, per the outlet.

The defense has also requested for Linton to be released on bail of less than $300,000, the Times reports.

In a statement issued to the outlet, District Attorney George Gascón said, "The safety and well-being of the residents of Los Angeles are our primary concern. Under my policy, preventative detention can be requested under a case-specific analysis to protect public safety and to reasonably ensure the defendant's return to court."

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