Loved ones gathered on Saturday and Sunday at the site of the horrific crash in Windsor Hills that claimed six lives. They joined in prayer and solace – finding comfort among each other in their search for strength.
“She was my first best friend. The first person I knew. The first person I probably had a conversation with,” said Sha’seana Kerr, Asherey Ryan’s younger sister.
Ryan, 23, who was six months pregnant, her 11-month-old son Alonzo, and her fiancé, Reynold Lester, were on their way to a prenatal checkup when the driver of a speeding Mercedes-Benz slammed into crossing traffic at the intersection of La Brea and Slauson avenues in Windsor Hills Thursday afternoon.
Everyone in Ryan’s vehicle died, including her unborn son.
“She’s my only big sister. Every day we take our sons outside and walk them around the block. Every day. The neighbors know us,” Kerr told KTLA. “Today, I had to walk alone with my son.”
Lloyd Manning, Asherey Ryan’s stepfather, shared his last memory of his grandson.
“I walked out to go to work. Alonzo would do his little ‘ooh! ooh!’ thing he always does,” Manning recalled. “I reached out and wanted a hug, and he gave me a hug and gave me a kiss. That was the last thing I got to see.”
Some of L.A. County’s Finest also paid respect to the victims Saturday evening. Firefighters from Engine Co. 58, who were among the first to respond to the crash, visited the makeshift memorial and met with grieving family members.
On Friday, the California Highway Patrol arrested the driver of the Mercedes, Nicole Linton, 37, on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. Authorities say she is a traveling nurse from Texas who is working in Los Angeles.
She was booked into the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood on Saturday night, and she is being held in lieu of $9 million bail, jail records show. Before late Sunday afternoon, her bail was set at $2 million.
Formal charges could be filed as early as Monday, and she is due to appear in Los Angeles Municipal Court that morning.
Beyond calling for justice on Sunday, many community members pleaded for changes to the way people drive and for more to be done to crack down on speeders.
“Let’s have a heart. Let’s stop speeding up and down this street,” the Rev. Patricia Strong Fargus of Faith for Safer Streets told KTLA. “We have a responsibility, too.”
One of the speakers at the vigil went further, demanding action be taken on the increasingly dangerous streets in Southern California.
“It’s time to end this. Do your job! Stop these maniacs speeding and going around and racing. Stop it now!” he pleaded.
Despite the immeasurable loss, family and friends are offering hope and healing to each other, and even the driver who has devastated their lives.
“I just want to tell her that we forgive her,” Kerr said. “She will have to live with this for the rest of her life. That’s why she was spared. We understand it already.”
GoFundMe pages have been set up to help the families of Lester and Ryan, Alonzo and her unborn son pay for funeral expenses.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Sha’seana Kerr’s name.