OHP report: Driver of SUV in deadly Purcell crash was distracted

Posted at 12:13 PM, Aug 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-09 19:33:44-04

PURCELL, Okla. -- An Oklahoma Highway Patrol report says the driver of an SUV in a deadly crash on Interstate 35 in Purcell in July was distracted when the crash occurred.

The report said the driver of a GMC Yukon and the driver of a semi truck were driving northbound on I-35, when the driver of the SUV, Erin Van Horn, hit the semi truck in the rear.

RELATED: Izzy Kitterman, Lauren Van Horn undergo surgery weeks after deadly Purcell crash

The report said it is "unknown" what Van Horn was distracted by before the crash, which happened just before 3:30 p.m. on July 17. 

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Four people died in the crash. They were identified as Elizabeth "Lizzie" Edwards, 13, and her brother Beck Kitterman, 11, Erin Van Horn, 40, and her 10-year-old son, Zachary Van Horn. All of the victims were from Jenks.

Three people, Izzy Kitterman, 13 Lauren Van Horn, 13, and Sam Van Horn, 7, survived the crash.

Beck Kitterman and Zachary Van Horn were not wearing seat belts, officials said. The report said it is unknown if the other five people were wearing seat belts. 

The crash report detailed where everyone was sitting in the SUV. 

Erin Van Horn and her daughter were both in the front of the car.

Lizzie Edwards was sitting in the second row of seats on the driver's side. Her step-sister, Izzy Kitterman, was sitting on the passenger side of the second row. 

All the way in the back was Zach Van Horn on the driver's side, Beck Kitterman in the middle and Sam Van Horn on the passenger side. 

Everyone on the left side of the car was killed. 

No one was ejected, according to the report. 

A witness, Amber Brumley, was following behind the SUV heading northbound on Interstate 35. 

"I saw the SUV in front of me and I thought, 'Wow, she is not stopping' and then about five feet before she hit the truck, she hit her brakes," Brumley said. 

Brumley said the car did not swerve and hit the semi-truck at full speed. She did not know the car had seven people inside until she went up to it. 

"It was just the worst thing I've seen," Brumley said.

Brumley said it sounded like a small bomb went off when the two vehicles collided.  She stopped her car after witnessing the accident.

"I saw little Sammy come out of the back of the SUV and jump in to the semi driver's arms and he put her down on the ground and she was just covered in blood," Brumley said. 

The witness said it was horrific to see, even though she did not know anyone involved. 

Brumley said she sat with Sam Van Horn in the back of the police car. 

The driver of the semi truck was not hurt.

Officials said they will continue to investigate the crash, but they don't plan to release more information on the crash.

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