By STEFANIE DAZIO – Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A pregnant woman who died along with her son and three others in a fiery accident caused by a speeding car was on her way to a prenatal doctor’s appointment, her sister said Friday.
In Thursday’s crash, Asherey Ryan, her 11-month-old son Alonzo Quintero and her boyfriend, Reynold Lester, were killed, Sha’seana Kerr said in a GoFundMe posting.
“Everyone is devastated,” Kerr told KABC-TV. “She literally walked out the door, because we all live together, and she said, ‘Okay, I love you all. I’m going to my doctor’s appointment to check on the baby.’ We asked, “Oh, why don’t you leave our cousin here?” She said, “No, I want to go for a ride with my son.” So when we knew that, our hearts really broke.”
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Lester’s family told KABC-TV that the 24-year-old guard was the father of the unborn child, who was listed as “baby boy Ryan” in the online coroner’s records.
Two other women and a man were also killed, but their names were not made public on Friday.
Shortly after 1:30 p.m. Thursday, a Mercedes-Benz sedan ran a red light at high speed, causing the crash involving as many as six cars near a gas station in the unincorporated Windsor Hills, about 10 miles southwest of downtown LA. according to the California Highway Patrol.
The California Highway Patrol said Nicole Lorraine Linton, who suffered moderate injuries in the collision, was taken into custody on suspicion of manslaughter by a vehicle with gross negligence.
Prosecutors said they could receive the case next Monday and then decide whether to file criminal charges.
It was not immediately clear whether Linton, 37, had a lawyer who could comment on her behalf.
The Mercedes-Benz sedan never seemed to brake as it flew through the intersection, and Pepi said detectives are investigating whether Linton had a medical episode or was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“It was definitely one of the most horrific crashes we’ve seen,” CHP officer Franco Pepi told the Associated Press on Friday.
Several people were thrown from the cars and two vehicles caught fire. Television reports showed the blackened and mangled cars, as well as a children’s car seat among the rubble that covered the street.
Video showed the Mercedes hurtling through an intersection and hitting at least two cars which exploded in flames and sped onto a sidewalk and hit the sign on the corner of the gas station. A fiery streak led to one car. A vehicle was torn in two.
The car was traveling at least 80 km/h as it raced through the busy intersection, Pepi said on Thursday. Eight people were taken to hospital, including Linton.
The other victims had minor injuries, including a 33-year-old woman and six children, ages 1 to 15, Pepi said.
A memorial grew outside the intersection Friday, as mourners left flowers and candles in memory of the dead.
Henry Sanchez, who works at nearby Sinclair Gas, was at the cash register when he heard “the loudest noise I’ve ever heard.”
“The sound of it, it was heartbreaking,” he told the AP on Friday. “It was like two trains hitting each other, metal on metal.”
He saw people running to the cars to help, but they were held back by the flames until firefighters arrived.
“I remember everyone trying to put out the fire and help people as much as possible, but nobody could do anything,” he said.
Veronica Esquival told KTLA-TV she covered her head for protection as the debris flew away.
“All of a sudden, a baby literally flew from the center of the intersection to the center of the gas station and landed on the ground right in front of me,” Esquival said. “One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and took the baby out of my hands. … Someone tried to resuscitate the baby, but the baby was gone.”
Debra Jackson, told KCBS-TV that she was about to get out of her car to accelerate when she heard a large explosion.
“The flames just went over everyone,” Jackson said. “The flames went all over my car and they told me to jump out of my car … because I was trying to get out of my car, to go to the gas station. And I jumped out of my car and just left my car there .”
Associated Press photojournalist Damian Dovarganes in Los Angeles and news researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.
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