EL RENO, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to causing a fiery crash that killed four people, including two adolescents.
Ashley Louise Ricks pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree manslaughter.
The deadly crash occurred at approximately 1:37 a.m. Saturday, October 17, 2020, on Interstate 40 West near El Reno.
Ricks was driving a 2017 Jeep Renegade east in the westbound lanes of I-40. She collided head-on with a 2003 Hyundai heading west, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol news release issued on the day of the crash.
The impact sent the Jeep into a ditch, where it overturned. The Hyundai went into the center median and burst into flames while its four occupants were trapped inside, according to the news release.
The Hyundai was occupied by an adult female driver, an adult passenger, an older adolescent passenger and a younger adolescent passenger. All four died from injuries they suffered in the crash.
Truckers and other motorists saw Ricks traveling in the wrong direction and called 9-1-1. The following are some of the comments made to 9-1-1 dispatchers regarding Ricks’ driving:
“There’s a car going backwards on the interstate.”
“He’s flying, too, probably 80, 90 miles an hour.”
“Someone is traveling in the wrong lane. They almost crashed into us head-on.”
“He’s gotta be drunk or stoned or something. You need to get a car out there fast.”
Ricks was allegedly drunk at the time.
She was booked into the Canadian County Detention Center in November 2020 on four counts of second-degree murder. Those charges were later reduced to first-degree manslaughter.
Court documents state that Ricks waived her right to a jury trial and instead pled guilty to the four manslaughter counts.
Ricks will return to court next month for sentencing.
The father of the children who died in the crash is suing Ricks for “wrongful death.”