Lawyers for the registered nurse charged with murder after a horrific crash on a Los Angeles main road killed six people, including a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, say she may have lost consciousness moments just before fatal crash.
According to doctors, Nicole Linton, 37, experienced a “apparent lapse of consciousness” at the moment of the fatal collision earlier in the month, according to court papers filed by her defense lawyers Halim Dhanidina and Jacqueline Sparagna.
According to earlier PEOPLE reporting, Linton was cruising about 90 miles per hour when she allegedly sped 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 slamming her Mercedes-Benz into at least 6 vehicles.
Linton, who has been imprisoned since the accident, has already been charged with 5 counts of manslaughter and 6 counts of murder, along with the death of Ryan’s unborn child.
Dr. William Winter wrote that while handling Linton at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, she apparently did not recall the activities that led to the crash, according to 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 stated that Linton had already been diagnosed with bipolar disorder 4 years prior, in regards to her “lapse of consciousness” at the time of the accident.
According to the Times, Linton’s relatives confirmed her four-year mental health struggle.
According to the outlet, her sister Camille Linton wrote a letter to the court that while Nicole was studying to be a nurse anesthetist at the University of Texas in Houston, “the stress was too much for her and it ‘broke’ her, thereby starting the path of Nicole’s 4-year struggle with mental illness.”
Linton reportedly had an anxiety attacks in May 2018 and ran out of her residence.
According to the Times, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a few days later and given meds.
According to court documents obtained by the outlet, she was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward more than a year later after a neighbor apparently saw her running unclothed around her apartment building.
“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.
According to Linton’s lawyers, on the day of the crash, she left the hospital in which she worked during her lunch hour and FaceTimed her sister while nude. She then went back to work, only to end up leaving again, calling her sister to notify her of the impending collision.
Linton’s attorneys are now making an argument for her transport to the UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital for additional testing.
According to the outlet, “Ms. Linton would be most appropriately housed in a mental health treatment facility where she can be monitored and treated for her illness.”
The defense has also asked for Linton to also be released on bail of less than $300k, according to the Times.
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.”