OHP investigates I-40 wreck that leaves 4 dead

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EL RENO, Okla. (KFOR) – The search for answers in a tragic and fiery crash along I-40 continues after four people, including two children were killed in a wrong way crash early Saturday.

Burned grass and scattered crayons mark the spot where troopers say 33-year-old Ashley Ricks slammed into the victims’ car near El Reno.

Now the Oklahoma Highway Patrol wants to know where she was in the hours leading up to the crash. OHP officials say alcohol may be to blame.

“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.”

Those were 911 calls from truckers and drivers on I-40 just outside of El Reno early Saturday morning. OHP says they were describing a Jeep driven by Ashley Ricks going east in the westbound lanes.

“At a minimum, it was going the wrong direction for 9 miles. It was doing so at what witnesses described as a pretty high rate of speed,” said Major Ronnie Hampton of the OHP.

Then there was a head on collision.

Ricks’ vehicle goes into a ditch to the side, the other car rolls into the median, bursting into flames and trapping two adults and two children inside.

“It was fully engulfed upon arrival. This was a very bad wreck,” said Jonathan Stahorn of the El Reno Fire Department.

El Reno Fire among the first responders on the scene.

“The gentlemen did have to use the spreaders and cutters to take the car apart to pull out these victims,” said Strahorn.

The two adults and older child pronounced dead at the scene with the younger child dying at the hospital. All of the victims were from out of state.

“A child involved does make it harder for everyone and our hearts go out to the families,” said Strahorn.

Ricks is reportedly in stable condition in the hospital currently but an investigation is underway on why she was driving so fast the wrong way.

“There were witnesses at the scene that detected a odor of an alcoholic beverage at the scene,” said Hampton.

OHP is looking for information on where Ricks might have been prior to the wreck.

“You have a family that is simply just trying to drive down an interstate roadway from one part of the country to another and here we have someone that went the wrong direction,” said Hampton.

Officials say they are following some new leads right now.

As for the victims, we’re told their family lives out of state but has been notified.

We won’t know their names until the medical examiner confirms their identities using x-rays and dental records.

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