TISHOMINGO, Okla. (KFOR) – The day after tragedy struck the rural town of Tishomingo, the community is still reeling from the loss.
Six high school students were killed in a fatal crash Tuesday when the small vehicle they were riding in collided with a semi-truck in the town of just over 3,000 residents, about 120 miles from Oklahoma City.
The students have not been identified by authorities due to their ages.
Flags outside of Tishomingo High School flew at half-staff Wednesday in memory of the girls, along with six hearts on a marquee and six rose-covered wreaths with angels wings.
Reflecting on the gravity of the moment, community members told KFOR that intersection has been a long-time issue that should have been fixed, catastrophe that could have been prevented.
“Those girls had their whole lives ahead of them,” said David Cribbs, who’s lived in the tiny town since the 1960s.
“Over the course of the last 50 years that I’ve been here, it’s always been a situation where you can’t see left and right,” added Brad Sneed; he’s lived in the town since 1972.
“That intersection [that the girls were killed at] is known as the ‘Y’. [It’s] very dangerous and very easy to accidentally pull out in front of oncoming traffic,” added Sneed, while noting that the responsibility lies with the state’s Department of Transportation.
In an email to KFOR, ODOT officials said in part that, “The agency extends its condolences to the families and the entire Tishomingo community affected by the devastating loss. Any loss of life due to a crash is a tragedy, and ODOT is committed to constantly evaluating and improving the highway system for safety.”
“Something like this that finally got enough attention that maybe they could fix it,” said Sneed. “Things need to change so it’s a clear intersection.”
A candlelight vigil will be held 7 p.m. Friday, March 25 at the high school football field. The 500 candles will be provided by First Baptist Church of Tishomingo.
Oklahoma native and country music star Blake Shelton released the following statement Wednesday in remembrance of the crash victims:
“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. 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.”BLAKE SHELTON