Grandmother, two grandchildren claimed by Turner Turnpike crash
WELLSTON — Norman photographer Linda Danette Smith Irie, her two young grandchildren and a cousin were traveling Saturday afternoon on the Turner Turnpike headed to buy the perfect baby lamb for upcoming Easter photo shoots.
They never made it.
Smoke from a grass fire blowing across the turnpike just east of the Wellston exit stopped eastbound traffic about 1:30 p.m., Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Dwight Durant said Monday.
Irie's vehicle came to a stop behind a van and sport utility vehicle. Then, a pickup driven by a 17-year-old Durango, Colorado, boy, slammed into the rear of Irie's SUV knocking it into the two front vehicles, the trooper said.
Irie, 50, Brooklynn Estelle Newville, 9, and Jace Braxton Newville, 5, died in the crash.
The cousin, Isabella Anthony, 6, was flown to Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City where she was treated and released.
"I couldn't muster up enough wonderful things to say about all three of them, my mother and the children," a daughter, Aleena Olivia, told The Oklahoman on Monday. "My mother was creative and so full of life and colorful and always put everyone before herself and took care of everyone.
"She showed the utmost strength and kindness to everyone around her, so this was an extremely devastating loss."
Irie and the children's mother, Shanee Newville, owned and operated Crimsy Photography of Norman.
"They had actually purchased one (lamb), but it was a little older than what they were looking for, so she was driving a little farther to get the perfect little lamb for the photograph," Olivia said.
"Her and my sister, the mother of the two children that passed on, they're such creative, talented people. They were just so amazing," she said.
"They (the grandchildren) were just as wonderful as their grandmother. These wonderful traits were passed down through the generations. They were well-behaved and so full of life and so fun," Olivia said.
"Jace, the little boy, was a comedian for sure. Brooklynn was just a sweet little girlie girl and loved wearing her little dresses and tiaras. Everything joyful you'd think of a child, they were that and more.
"They were such beautiful, beautiful people and this is such a devastating loss."
Two crowdfunding accounts have been created to help with the unexpected expenses of the tragedy. Between them, more than $30,000 had been raised by Monday evening.
Services for all three are pending.
If you'd like to help, go online to www.gofundme.com/newville-family-support-fund or www.gofundme.com/linda-danette-smith-irie.
OHP investigators are continuing to try to piece together the cause of the collision, trooper Durant said. A final report will be sent to the Lincoln County District Attorney's Office.
The teenage driver's name was withheld by the OHP because he is a juvenile. He was admitted to a hospital in good condition, authorities said.
The boy had left New Mexico about 4 a.m. Saturday and was traveling east to Arkansas. Cellphone records are being reviewed, Durant said.
Drivers of the other vehicles involved in the accident and a 2-year-old passenger in one were not seriously hurt, troopers said.
CONTRIBUTING: Staff Writer Robert Medley