Photos of the six girls who were tragically killed when a semi-truck collided with their sedan as they pulled out onto U.S. 377 in Oklahoma have been revealed for the first time. The victims of the horrific crash were named this week as Gracie Machado, Brooklyn Triplett, Austin Holt, Madison Robertson, Addison Gratz, and Memory Wilson. The driver of the car was 16 years old, while two of the passengers were 15 and the other two were 17.
- The driver of the semi-truck was identified earlier this week. He was named as 51-year-old Valendon Burton, a volunteer fire fighter who’d recently posted on social media about his support of Ukraine and his hopes for a swift resolution to the conflict. A rock hauler and loving grandfather, he had no chance to stop before colliding with the girls’ 2015 Chevy Spark on the highway near Tishomingo, Oklahoma. He was wearing a seatbelt at the time and was not injured in the crash.
- The intersection where the accident happened has always been a problem. People in the community told KFOR that the intersection where the accident took place, known as the “Y,” has been considered dangerous for a long time and that it’s too easy for drivers to pull out in front of oncoming traffic without realizing it. The local transportation department insisted that they’re “committed to improving the highway system for safety.”
- Tributes to the girls have been posted online. Madison’s aunt, Falesha Roberts, called her niece a “beautiful soul” and said that she “I can’t even begin to express the heartbreak I know many families are feeling right now.” Memory Wilson, who left behind a baby daughter, was described as having the “biggest heart of pure gold” in online tributes. The messages for these young women whose lives were lost far too soon have continued to pour in.
- OHP released a statement on the accident on Wednesday. “Our Traffic Homicide Unit is conducting a thorough investigation that could last weeks… Any loss of life is tragic and we will continue to thoroughly investigate. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families involved and the entire community.”