Nearly one month after a fiery crash killed five people and an unborn baby at a Windsor Hills intersection, the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Aug. 30, called for a series of studies and immediate steps aimed at slowing traffic at the crossroad and other high-danger roadways.
“Disturbingly, traffic fatalities have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and reckless speeding, street takeovers and erratic driver behavior has become widespread,” Supervisor Holly Mitchell wrote in a motion that was approved on a 4-0 vote Tuesday, with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl absent.
“We need to explore the availability of additional tools to improve our infrastructure and to hold people accountable to mitigate dangerous driver behavior and keep people alive.”
Her motion called for a series of reports from county officials, and instructs the Department of Public Works to hire an outside contractor “to conduct an after-action review” of the response to the Aug. 4 crash at La Brea and Slauson avenues, with a report back to the board in 60 days.
It also called on Public Works officials to “take appropriate actions to slow down excessive speeds on La Brea Avenue and Slauson Avenue and surrounding areas including, but not limited to, consideration of off-the-shelf and/or quick-build safety improvements” within 30 days.
The motion also calls for county staff to explore what possible changes in state and local law could help further regulate speed in the area, through methods such as “automated speed enforcement and red-light cameras at key intersections.”
It also calls for the development in 60 days of a complete “Community Traffic Safety” plan for the Windsor Hills/Ladera Heights area that includes a study of possible “road diets to curb excessive speeding.”
Nicole Lorraine Linton, a 37-year-old traveling nurse, is accused of speeding her Mercedes-Benz into the intersection of La Brea and Slauson around 1:40 p.m. Aug. 4, broadsiding a vehicle and causing a fiery, chain-reaction crash that killed 23-year-old Asherey Ryan of Los Angeles, who relatives said was 8 1/2 months pregnant.
Her unborn child, Armani Lester, also died in the crash and is considered a victim, along with Ryan’s 11-month-old son Alonzo Quintero and 24-year-old boyfriend, Reynold Lester of Los Angeles.
They were all in one car, traveling to a pre-natal doctor’s appointment for Ryan, relatives said.
Also killed in the crash were Nathesia Lewis, 43, and her friend 38-year-old Lynette Noble, who were in another car.
Eight other people were also injured.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Mitchell acknowledged the “emotional pain and trauma” the crash caused for the entire Windsor Hills community, and residents beyond that area.
“I live off of La Brea,” she said. “Not in that immediate community, but that’s my main thoroughfare that I traverse in the course of my life. … The Slauson corridor is an area I’m very familiar with and (I) completely feel the anxiety and sense of loss that we heard many callers express today.”
She called traffic fatalities “endemic” in the county, adding, “Black people are dying from them at a disproportionate rate.”
Linton was hospitalized after the crash but survived. She was charged with six counts of murder and five counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said his office could not file a manslaughter charge in a case involving an unborn child.
Linton’s arraignment is set for Oct. 26. She has a bail review hearing scheduled for Wednesday.