THEY ALL DIED TOGETHER
“I’ve seen a lot of critical incidents, a lot of death, but to see children who have suffered that type of trauma, it’s raw, it hurts.” — Johnston County Sheriff Gary Dodd.
Sheriff Dodd and his deputies had to inform the girls’ families of the horrendous tragedy.
SIX YOUNG LIVES OBLITERATED
The high school girls were jammed into a four-passenger Chevy Spark that rolled through a stop sign at an Oklahoma intersection when it was struck by a semi-truck. The six teens died together.
The victims, between 15 and 17 years old, were Gracie Machado, Brooklyn Triplett, Austin Holt, Madison Robertson, Addison Gratz and Memory Wilson, all students of Tishomingo High School.
The driver of the semi, Valendon Burton, 51, a volunteer fire fighter, was not injured. He was hauling rocks in his truck at the time.
The car and the semi collided just after noon when the girls’ car began to turn off County Road 22 across the truck driver’s lane onto US Highway 377, near Tishomingo.
The intersection is known by local residents as the ‘Y’ and has long been considered dangerously easy for someone to accidentally pull out in front of oncoming traffic.
Country music star Blake Shelton, who has a 1,300 acre ranch in Tishomingo, posted an online tribute:
‘In the wake of yesterday’s unthinkable crash in our small town of Tishomingo, we as a community have all been in shock and broken hearted.’
BLAKE SHELTON KNOWS THE PAIN
When he was a teenager, Blake’s older brother Ritchie Shelton, died in a car accident in November 1990 at the age of 24. Ritchie’s girlfriend and her young son were also killed in the crash.
‘I personally know the devastation of suddenly losing a loved one in a car accident. But our community is strong and has come together to support and wrap our arms around the families and friends that are hurting the most. There’s no question it will take a long time to heal from this tragedy. Keep the prayers coming.’
Tishomingo is a town of 3,000 about 100 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.