Some suspiciously low charges for a monster fiery crash in Los Angeles
It's not attracting the attention in the press that the fatal lightning strike in Washington, D.C. is, but a monstrous fiery crash through an intersection in Los Angeles by an apparently drunk driver is traumatizing Los Angeles with details to haunt your dreams — and it doesn't seem to be drawing the harsh response it should from the authorities.
Here's a video of what happened Thursday.
According to Fox News:
Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters were called just before 1:40 p.m. Thursday to La Brea and Slauson avenues, near Ladera Park, on what was initially reported as a fire. When crews arrived on scene, they discovered that eight vehicles had collided in the intersection after a Mercedes-Benz was seen speeding southbound on La Brea Avenue.Several vehicles involved in the crash erupted into flames and caused a nearby commercial fire. Bystanders tried to help those trapped but couldn't get close because of the flames.
The pregnant woman killed in the crash was identified Friday by the Los Angeles County coroner's office as Asherey Ryan, 23, of Los Angeles. Her unborn child, listed by the coroner's office as "baby boy Ryan," was also counted among the deceased. Family members told FOX 11 that Ryan's infant son, Alonzo, was also killed.
Incredibly, the driver of the fancy Mercedes who ploughed through that heavily flowing traffic at that intersection with absolutely zero braking at 100 mph was charged with just manslaughter with gross negligence, not murder, and faces just six years in the can for it if convicted.
This, despite blowing four people — a mother, her unborn baby who was at eight and a half months' gestation, her one-year old son, and her boyfriend — from their car in an unspeakably fiery crash, killing them all, along with two or three other adults, and sending eight other people, nearly all of them kids, to the hospital. The photos of the torn-apart, burnt out cars in the aftermath speak for themselves.
The horror nightmarishly came up to the edge of a gas station, meaning that it could have been a hell of a lot fierier, and worse still, witnesses could see fire-filled cars with people inside on fire, moving around, crying out for rescue, with bystanders saying they were too terrified to rescue them because they were at an utterly flammable gas station. It's just unthinkable, the stuff that haunts dreams.
One of the driver's pals told local station KTLA that the driver, a 37-year-old traveling nurse named Nicole Lorraine Linton, had been drinking after a fight with her "boyfriend" on the phone and decided to take a ride down La Brea, a big empty hilly road that, knowing this intersection, is fairly easy to drive fast down before reaching the traffic light at the intersection, which can indeed be maddening in its thick, slow traffic.
Here's a law firm called Los Angeles DUI Attorneys discussing what defendants get if they get convicted on the charges Linton is charged with:
Outcomes of a Gross Vehicular Manslaughter Conviction
The court considers gross vehicular manslaughter to be a "wobbler." These are charges that are either treated as misdemeanors OR felonies. The prosecution decides how to handle wobblers. When making a decision, they look at:
- The facts of the current case
- A driver's criminal history
Misdemeanor charges in California are less serious than felonies. Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor may face fines of up to $1,000. The court can also sentence them to up to one year in jail. Felony charges are more severe. They lead to:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Prison time of up to six years
You should know that the penalties are not as severe for vehicular manslaughter with ordinary negligence. These charges can lead to up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
the woman responsible for the La Brea crash will plead guilty to multiple counts of vehicular manslaughter, get concurrent sentences, and serve 6 years in prison at the most pic.twitter.com/1zucyeRaA9— debdrens (@debdrens) August 5, 2022
The DUI law firm adds that if drunk driving charges can be added to the conviction, the sentence could be ten years.
Ten years? That's all she faces at the absolute max? Of which she would likely only serve half or less in California? This seems to be under-charging.
Past monster crashes, such as the 2014 case of Olivia Carolee Culbreath, another health care worker, who got drunk and plowed into a car full of a family returning from a trip to Las Vegas on the Pomona Freeway, killing all of them, injuring another driver in another vehicle, and killing members of her own family in her car with her, got Murder Two charges filed — and an easy conviction, leading to a 30-years-to-life sentence, with an appellate court dismissing a 2020 appeal as "don't waste our time."
Why did this driver of this very comparable crash, very callous, very selfish, very irresponsible, it appears, with monstrous consequences for entire families in Los Angeles, get such comparably light charges?
It's impossible not to think this sounds like a case of Gasconitis, which is plaguing Los Angeles, the specter of a Soros-backed district attorney letting all criminals off on the lowest and least possible charges.
However, the matter is a little complicated — news reports say that the California Highway Patrol, not a redoubt of major wokery, made the recommendation to Gascon.
Why did they recommend manslaughter with gross negligence for Linton but hit Culbreath with Murder Two? They both killed about the same number of people with their gross irresponsibility, likely alcohol-fueled in both cases. It's true that Culbreath had a history of drunk driving, and the facts aren't known about Linton — it's entirely possible that her "pal" lied to the press about her drinking and fight with her boyfriend, or her brakes gave out, or she hit the accelerator when she thought she was hitting the brakes, or perhaps she rented a high-tech car she didn't understand how to operate, or the cops botched the drunk driving test and can't pin some of the aggravating factors on her for a conviction, but the bottom line is, you have to be pretty deliberate to be driving at 100 mph on a Los Angeles city street. At a minimum, the authorities owe an explanation for these light charges with heavy consequences for the victims. Shouldn't the charges fit the crime, given what happened?
This doesn't take Gascon off the hook, though. Was the CHP thinking Gascon might do nothing if they didn't lighten the charges to as little as possible for Linton? Why is Gascon going along, given the community's outrage, which, in this case, happens to be the black community of South Central, a constituency that would cost Gascon little in political capital if he were to present harder charges?
It just seems like too little at this point, given the scope of what happened. One hopes that in the absence of any mitigating information, it will provide more reason, to more voters, for the problems in criminal justice brought on by excessive leniency toward criminals and persuade them to vote Gascon out in his coming voter recall.
Image: Twitter screen shot.