Car carrying six Oklahoma teens fatally struck by semi-truck after rolling through stop sign: Report

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Tragedy has struck the town of Tishomingo, Oklahoma as six teenage girls were killed in a violent automobile accident involving a tractor-trailer on Tuesday.

The subcompact Chevy Spark, designed to carry only four passengers, was occupied by the six girls and was obliterated by a semi-truck after witnesses say the Chevy driver rolled through a stop sign at a dangerous highway intersection. Only the driver and front-seat passenger were wearing seat belts at the time, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. All six girls were pronounced dead at the scene.

Valendon Burton, 51, of Burneyville was strapped in behind the wheel of the Peterbilt semi-truck and was uninjured. No criminal charges have been filed against him.

“Witnesses reported the (vehicle) made a ‘rolling stop’ at the stop sign and entered (the intersection),” before the deadly collision, according to a Thursday statement from NTSB spokesperson Peter Knudson. The truck’s payload was rocks.

(Video: KOCO/YouTube)

The teenage girls ranged in age from 15 to 17 and all attended Tishomingo High School, a school of only 240 students in a town that lies about 100 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. The group was out for their lunch break when the accident took place, according to Superintendent Bobby Waitman.

The six have been identified as Gracie Machado, Brooklyn Triplett, Austin Holt, Madison Robertson, Addison Gratz, and Memory Wilson, according to family and friends who spoke with the Daily Mail. It is unclear at this time which of the girls was driving the car.

The tightly-knit community of only 3,000 people has been in shock following the tragedy and a memorial service is planned at the school’s football stadium Friday night.

“They were known, they were not just a number,” Waitman said. “They were not just another student. These young people were loved by this community, and their loss is a great one to everyone involved.”

(Video: NBC News/YouTube)

Classes at the high school remained in session as of Wednesday.

“We are open because we feel like the school is a place where many of our students want to be and we feel like they need something constant in their lives,” Waitman told the New York Post. “Many of them need to be with each other today.”

Waitman described the mood of the high school students as “somber.”

“They feel the loss. But at the same time, as they saw staffers ready to greet them and that they’re grieving with them, we just hope and pray that there’s some relief for the kids,” he said.

NTSB investigators have been on scene and are expected to file a preliminary report within 30 days while a complete report may take 12 to 24 months, agency spokesperson Peter Knudson said.

Relatives and friends have come together to mourn the loss of the young girls.

“I can’t even begin to express the heartbreak I know many families are feeling right now,” Madison’s aunt, Falesha Roberts, wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. She referred to her as an “irreplaceable gift from God” and shared several photos online.

“I’ll be forever grateful that I got to see your smile, know your kindness, and that I could call you my niece Madison Patience Michelle Robertson! Your beautiful soul remains with us all, while you inherited your wings today!!” she wrote.

Natalie Houston, a relative of Austin Holt’s who lives in the neighboring town of Ada, has asked for prayers for Austin’s younger sister, Joy.

“She is having a hard time and feels like it’s a joke. I don’t know why these tragic things happen,” she wrote on Facebook.

She described Austin as a “great big sister” and that Joy will “never forget her.”

“She was a gorgeous, intelligent young lady taken way [too] soon for reasons unknown to me!” her post continued.

Gracie’s sister, Sadie Machado, posted a photo of the pair with the caption, “My best friend” with a broken heart emoji.

One of the victims, Memory Wilson, leaves behind a baby daughter.

A local bank started a donation drive in the aftermath and all six of the young victims’ funerals have been paid for, according to KOKI.

(Video: KOTV/YouTube)


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