The driver responsible for killing three high school seniors when she turned around on a freeway and started speeding into oncoming traffic has been identified.
On Tuesday, the Oregon State Police identified the driver responsible for the crash as Gayle M. Ward, 65, of Vancouver, Washington.
Ward was driving south on Interstate-5 Saturday night just after 9:30pm – near Rice Hill, Oregon – when she suddenly turned her Acura Integra around on Interstate-5 for an unknown reason.
Giselle Montano (left), Esmeralda Nava (right) and Luciana Tellez died Saturday night after their car was struck head-on on Interstate 5 in Yoncalla, Oregon
Gayle M. Ward, 65, of Vancouver, Washington has been identified as the driver. Pictured above is her third victim, 18-year-old Luciana Tellez
She then started driving north in the southbound lanes, colliding almost head-on with the Nissan Murano carrying three Eagle Point High school seniors – 18-years-olds Luciana Tellez-Cabezas, Giselle Montana, and Esmerelda Nava.
The two cars burst into flames on impact, and witnessed rushed to pull Tellez-Cabezas and Nava out of the Nissan Murano – but they succumbed to their injuries.
Montana, who was driving her friends, and Ward died inside their respective cars. The freeway was just down for five hours while investigators went over the scene and the mess was cleaned up.
Bystanders were able to remove two of the passengers from the teens’ car, but they later died. The two drivers involved in the accident died in their respective cars
Eagle Point High School announced the deaths of the students on it Facebook page on Sunday
The three teens from White City, Oregon were set to graduate from high school in June.
Both the teens and Ward were both far from home. Ward was driving about two and a half hours south of Vancouver, while the teens were driving two hours and 15 minutes north of their home town in White City, Oregon.
Anyone who may have seen Ward’s Acura the night of the crash is being asked to call investigators at 541-440-3333 and reference the case number SP18-181178.
The school announced the deaths of the students on it Facebook page on Sunday.
‘It is with sadness that we inform you that last night three Eagle Point High School students died in a car accident. We have information through the families of Luciana Tellez, Giselle (Jennifer) Montano and Esmeralda Nava,’ the statement read.
They are planning to remember them in some way at graduation, which takes place the first week of June.