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Jenks community in mourning after triple fatality crash on I-35

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JENKS, Okla. - The investigation continues Tuesday into a crash on I-35 that took three lives.

It happened Monday afternoon just before 3:30 in the afternoon at mile marker 91 in Purcell.

Erin Van Horn was driving a white 2014 GMC Yukon with six kids inside when she slammed into the back of a stopped semi truck at a high rate of speed.

“It was a significant crash. It was a high impact crash, high speed,” said Trooper Dwight Durant with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “It looks like the semi was in the right hand lane at a stop. And, SUV comes up behind it and runs into the back of it.”

OHP troopers said their preliminary investigation does not show Van Horn took any sort of evasive action before hitting the semi.

Van Horn died as a result of the crash, along with her 10-year-old son and an 11-year-old boy.

A 7-year-old girl was treated and released from the hospital.

And, three 13-year-old girls had to be mediflighted to OU Medical Center in critical condition.

“I have not got any first-hand medical reports on the condition of the other children involved. But, it’s my understanding that by no means is anybody out of the woods here,” Durant said.

Family friends tell NewsChannel 4 Van Horn was returning home to Tulsa after an outing at Turner Falls.

Three of the kids in the vehicle were Van Horn’s and the other three were friends.

The kids attend school in Jenks.

“This is an incredibly difficult, difficult situation with no easy answers. And, our community is really hurting,” said Paula Lau, the Student Assistance Program Coordinator for Jenks Public Schools.

The district has had counselors on hand all Tuesday.

“Right now, kids are in shock. You know, they can’t believe what has happened,” Lau said.

And, as the investigation into exactly how this happened continues, their community is trying to figure out the best way to deal with the pain of the immense loss.

“To have this many students involved is terrible. And, our hearts are just aching. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to in the last 24 hours who’ve said I’ve just been crying. I’ve been praying. I’m sorry. It’s a big deal,” Lau said.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the Van Horn family.

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