windsor hills crash

Windsor Hills Crash Survivor Saw Terrifying ‘Ball of Fire' Behind Her SUV

Grace Ortiz, her five children and niece suffered minor injuries when their SUV was struck in a fiery crash that left six dead at a Windsor Hills intersection.

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Grace Ortiz and her five children were on their way to lunch Thursday when they arrived at the intersection of Slauson and La Brea avenues in Windsor Hills.

Like others slowly crossing the intersection just before 1:40 p.m. in the South Los Angeles community, she was going about her day when lives were forever changed by tragedy.

Moments after reaching the intersection, a fireball erupted behind Ortiz's SUV as a speeding driver blew through a red light and slammed into another car in an eight-vehicle crash that left six dead, including a pregnant woman and her 11-month-old baby.

"It was very fast," Ortiz said. "There was a ball of fire. A body or something hit our truck.

"My children were screaming, crying. They were screaming, 'The baby, the baby!' I didn't want to turn around because I thought it was going to be my baby."

Security camera video of the crash showed a car that was t-boned by a Mercedes-Benz sedan traveling at an estimated 100 mph in the 35 mph zone as it slammed into the rear quarter of Ortiz's SUV. Her SUV spun around as the other vehicles were engulfed in flames.

Ortiz, her five children and her niece suffered minor injuries.

Ortiz said she wants to know why the driver of the Mercedes-Benz was driving so recklessly.

The community in Windsor Hills has been gathering to pay their respects at the site of a deadly crash that left six dead. Darsha Philips reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Aug. 7, 2022.

"I just thank God that we are alive," Ortiz said. "I don't know what was going on with her mind, but I would like to say that I forgive her, myself. But for the others, I can't speak for them."

A pregnant woman and her infant were among the six killed in the crash. The CHP said several people were ejected from vehicles.

The pregnant woman who died in the crash was identified Friday by the coroner's office as 23-year-old Asherey Ryan of Los Angeles. She was engaged to Reynold Lester, whose family visited a memorial Sunday at the crash site.

Family members said they were on the way to a doctor's appointment for Ryan.

"She left the house at 1:30. She woke me up," Kerr said. "She woke me up and told me she was going to go to her doctor's appointment, that she loved me and she'll be right back."

Nicole Lorraine Linton, 37, was arrested Friday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. She was released from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center this weekend, where she had been hospitalized with moderate injuries. Linton was now being held on $9 million bail at the Century Regional Detention Center, according to jail records. It was initially set at $2 million.

Charges could be filed Monday.

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