CUSTER COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A three-year-old, seven-year-old and two adult females are dead and one 17-year-old boy is in the hospital after state troopers say their car veered off Interstate 40 west of Clinton and hit a concrete embankment.
A metro family is in shambles after the four young lives were taken and a fifth family member is clinging to life. The car possibly sat for days after the wreck with the 17-year-old boy in it before being found. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Jared Boese said the vehicle was not visible from the highway.
It happened on I-40 eastbound just west of Clinton. OHP said the vehicle gradually left the road, barely missing the railing, before going airborne and slamming into a concrete embankment.
“We have to bury them. We have to see them in a casket,” said Cristina Alatorre, the best friend of Aime Tarango, one of the women who died in the wreck. “What can we do? How are we going to get over this?”
The calm scene Tuesday was at one point chaotic. The front end of the car was destroyed with four of its passengers dead.
Their names are Freddy Diaz, 3, Melany Hernandez, 7, Aime Tarango, 27, and 36-year-old Marleen Moncada. Erick Ortega, 17, is now in the hospital.
“This is the most tragic thing I’ve ever seen crash wise,” Trooper Jared Boese said with Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Trooper Boese said the vehicle gradually left the road on the right side. It went over a bridge embankment, went airborne and slammed into a concrete wall. The family said they were only an hour and a half from home on their way back from New Mexico.
“How do you process something like that?” KFOR asked.
“You don’t,” Alatorre said.
According to Alatorre, the family had just talked to them on the phone. However, after that call, they didn’t hear back from them.
“There was no other calls,” Alatorre said.
From there, the family frantically reached out to multiple agencies for help, but no dice.
“We’re just really disappointed,” she said.
Days passed. At one point, the family decided to go look for themselves.
“We looked at bridges, backroads; we didn’t find anything,” Alatorre said.
Fast forward to Monday afternoon, a full four days later. The family tracked a cell phone ping, which ended up bringing the Clinton Police Department and OHP to the scene.
Ortega was responsive on scene and was med-flighted to OU Medical Center.
“It didn’t appear like it just happened,” Boese said. “It looked like it had been a little bit of time.”
“He was hanging on by a thread,” Alatorre said.
It’s unclear right now what caused the wreck. The family said they think Aime may have fallen asleep while driving. Ortega is in the OU Medical Center and the family said he has spinal injuries, but are unsure what all his injuries are.
OHP said the accident is still under investigation and they are unsure of exactly when the crash happened.
The family has started a GoFundMe to pay for funeral expenses. You can find that by clicking here.