Illegal U-Turn Into Path of Big Rig Blamed For Crash Killing Six, Surviving Motorist Arrested on Drug Charges
Tonopah, AZ – Arizona authorities say two motorists made an illegal U-turn in front of a big rig on Interstate 10 last week resulting in a horrific crash that killed six people and injured five more.
The deadly accident occurred Friday, July 2, at approximately 1:20 p.m. in the eastbound lanes of I-10 near mile post 82.
A preliminary assessment by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) was that a tractor-trailer traveling eastbound plowed into the rear of a Nissan Altima and a GMC Envoy for “unknown reasons.”
Shortly following the crash, AZDPS reported five people had been killed and five more were hospitalized with serious injuries.
Within 48 hours, AZDPS confirmed an additional fatality. bringing the death toll to six.
However, after an almost week-long investigation, AZDPS said the drivers of the Altima and Envoy “were initially traveling westbound on I-10” when “both vehicles drove into and through the dirt median, a marked ‘No U-Turn’ zone, in order to turn around and travel eastbound on I-10.”
As the passenger vehicles entered the eastbound travel lanes, they were struck by the big rig.
The Altima, driven by Natisha Nicole Moffett, 35, of Phoenix, AZ, was hit first.
Witnesses reported the car immediately burst into flames.
Moffett and her five children, identified as Jo’Syia Moffett, 17, Giovanni Thomas-Blakney, 16, Santari Witherspoon, 16, Malik Thomas-Blakney Jr., 8, and Makayla Thomas-Blakney, 5, all perished at the scene.
The tractor-trailer then continued on and collided into the rear of the Envoy, driven by Iyona Holton, 35, also of Phoenix (pictured above).
According to AZDPS, Holton, along with her four children were transported from the scene to nearby hospitals and treated for “serious injuries.”
Holton was released from the hospital on Thursday, July 8.
She was promptly arrested and booked into the Maricopa County Jail on six felony counts including: four counts of Aggravated Assault, one count of Possession of Dangerous Drugs, and one count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
According to Fox 17, Holton and Moffett were close friends and were taking their families on vacation to San Diego, CA to celebrate Independence Day.
As for the trucker, he/she has yet to be identified.
The trucker was uninjured in the incident.
AZDPS indicated an investigation into the tragic incident remains ongoing.
TransportationNation.com will monitor any new developments.