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Crash involving school van leaves four dead, including two children, in Oklahoma

A Stateline Christian Academy van with 11 passengers including the driver was involved in a crash with a 1991 Dodge Ram.

ADAIR COUNTY, Okla. — According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP), a head-on crash in Adair County Thursday, April 28, claimed the lives of four people, including two children. The crash happened on Highway 59 at Bakery Feed Mill Road just before 6 p.m. and now a vigil is being held for those who lost their lives. 

“We’re one big, happy family, whether they went to school here before or going here now, we all consider them our kids, and we’re here for the families and here to do everything we can to help anybody that’s dealing with any kind of grief and those kinds of things," said Westville Public Schools Superintendent Terry Heustis. 

With a population of 1,600, everyone is family, which is why Friday night, April 29, the Westville community gathered together to remember the lives of the lost and injured in the crash. A Stateline Christian Academy van with 11 people inside crossed the highway centerline and collided with a 1991 Dodge Ram with two passengers inside on Thursday night, April 28. 

"For unknown reasons, the van crossed the centerline, striking the truck in a head-on collision," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Southall told 5NEWS. 

According to the crash report, the van driver, a 34-year-old female, a 13-year-old girl, and an 11-year-old girl were pronounced dead at the scene. 

Four girls, ages 5, 7, 13, and 14, and three boys, ages 2, 8, and 10, were transported to the hospital due to their injuries. According to OHP, the 10-year-old and the 8-year-old were released from the hospital. The passenger of the van, Chad Murray, 37, was transported to the hospital and released. 

The Dodge Ram driver, Larry Valentine, from Cane Hill, Ark., was also pronounced dead at the scene, and his passenger, Asa Valentine, 25, was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

Credit: Amanda M. Payne

The Westville School District released the following statement on social media about the crash: 

"Our Westville Community was hit with a tragedy today. A State Line Christian Academy van was involved in a head-on collision in Watts this afternoon. Counselors and clergy will be available tomorrow at school."

Here's a list of the crash victims' conditions according to OHP: 

  • Van driver: 34-year-old unidentified female pronounced dead at the scene.  
  • Van passenger: 37-year-old Chad Murray from Westville, Okla.

- Condition: Transported to Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville, treated and released with internal head injuries. 

Child van passengers:

  • 2-year-old boy from Westville, Okla: 

- Condition: transported to Springdale Regional Medical Center, admitted in fair condition with head and internal injuries.

  • 5-year-old girl from Westville, Okla: 

- Condition: Transported to Arkansas Children's Hospital, admitted in critical condition with head and trunk internal injuries.

  • 7-year-old girl from Westville, Okla: 

- Condition: Transported to Arkansas Children's Hospital, admitted in critical condition with head and trunk injuries.

  • 8-year-old boy from Westville, Okla: 

- Condition: Transported to Siloam Springs Medical Center, treated and released with head, leg, and trunk internal injuries.

  • 10-year-old boy from Westville, Okla:

- Condition: Transported to Siloam Springs Regional Hospital, treated and released with head and trunk internal injuries.

  • 11-year-old female from Westville, Okla:

- Condition: Pronounced dead at the scene with head and internal injuries.

  • 13-year-old girl from Westville, Okla: pronounced dead at the scene with multiple injuries.
  • Second 13-year-old girl from Westville, Okla: 

- Condition: Transported to Arkansas Children's Hospital and admitted in critical condition with head, leg, and trunk internal injuries.

  • 14-year-old girl from Westville, Okla:

- Condition: Transported to Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville, admitted in fair condition with head and trunk internal injuries.

  • Dodge Ram driver: Larry Valentine, 61, of Caney Hill, Ark., pronounced dead at the scene with multiple injuries.
  • Dodge Ram Passenger: Asa Valentine, 25-year-old male of Lincoln, Ark.

- Condition: Transported to Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo., admitted in critical condition with head and trunk internal injuries.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Officers say the investigation into this crash could take weeks if not months to wrap up.   

“So early right now that we don’t know a lot as far as you know what exactly happened," said Southall.

State Line Ministries say they have a memorial fund set up for the victims. To donate, you can visit any Oklahoma Arvest Bank and look under the Little John Memorial. 

Stay with 5NEWS for updates on this developing story. 

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