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Two Vista kids, mom and grandma killed in wrong-way driver crash in OK

Posted at 5:14 PM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 20:14:43-04

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- After a trip to visit their grandma in Ohio, eight year old Lilly and 12 year old Zachary were driving back to California with their mom and grandma when a wrong-way driver hit their car head-on in Oklahoma, killing all four of them. The wrong-way driver, identified by Oklahoma authorities as 33-year-old Ashley Louise Ricks, survived the crash.

Monday, Oklahoma authorities gave an update, saying witnesses smelled alcohol at the scene of the crash. Witnesses and 911 calls also reveal the woman was driving at a high rate of speed and in the wrong direction for at least nine miles before the fatal crash occurred. Authorities said they’re currently investigating her medical history, driver history and taking blood samples before making any charges.

The family was driving back to Vista, near San Diego, so Lilly could make it back home in time for school to resume. A GoFundMe created by a family friend shows the kids called their dad and stepmom every day while on vacation, telling them about the fun they’d had on their trip.

Sam Homant, the kids’ dad, and their stepmom Melissa Starnes said the last time they talked to their son, it was the night of the crash.

“He was excited to come home. We had just got him a brand new bed, a brand new bed that he was just so excited for, this pillow top mattress and he was so excited. And that was the last thing that we said to him,” said Starnes.

They described the kids as family oriented and special. Zachary had a creative and kind heart.

“He could take Legos and create anything out of Legos. He loved to build, just a smart smart little boy. Very creative. Wanted to be an architect. His imagination was off the rack,” they said.

Lilly had similar passions to many little girls her age, but also loved to ride her dad’s motorcycle with him.

“She loved makeup and dancing and her dolls. She loved to draw,” they said.

The GoFundMe will help pay to bring the kids home. As they grieve, these parents want answers.

“They had such a bright future and it’s been taken away by this lady and we don’t know why. We want to know why was she on that road on the wrong side,” said Starnes.