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Car made rolling stop before crash that killed 6 Oklahoma high school students, authorities say

Witnesses reported seeing the 2015 Chevrolet Spark roll through a stop sign before it collided with a semitruck hauling gravel, according to the NTSB.
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The hatchback that collided with a semitruck in Oklahoma this week, killing all six high school students inside, made a rolling stop before it was struck by the larger vehicle, federal authorities said Thursday.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement that witnesses reported seeing the 2015 Chevrolet Spark roll through a stop sign and onto a road where a truck loaded with gravel collided with the car’s front left section.

The driver of the car had been trying to turn left onto U.S. Route 377, which has a posted speed limit of 50 mph, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said in a statement Thursday.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed to KFOR that six Tishomingo High School girls all died in the crash. They were in a car that collided with a semi-truck.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed to NBC affiliate KFOR that six Tishomingo High School girls died in the crash. They were in a car that collided with a semitruck.KFOR

Images of the wreckage showed the vehicle without doors or a roof. Officials said it wasn't clear whether they were torn off in the crash or were removed as emergency responders were trying to extract the victims.

The six students, who had been on lunch break Tuesday from their high school in Tishomingo, a town of about 3,000 in the south-central part of the state, all died. 

The students were 15 to 17 years old. Their identities haven’t been released.

Tishomingo Public Schools Superintendent Bobby Waitman said in a statement released Thursday that students and faculty members were beginning the process of “mending broken hearts.”

“I am reminded that our greatest property as educators is to meet the emotional, mental, social and physical needs of our students,” he said. “This is our focus at this time — and every day that we serve our students.” 

Natalie Houston, who knew one of the crash victims, told NBC affiliate KFOR of Oklahoma City that it was a tragedy “to have six young ladies’ lives lost like that.”

“They had their whole lives ahead of them,” she told the station.

The truck driver wasn’t injured. He was wearing a seat belt, state authorities have said. In the Spark, a car designed for four, only the front passenger and the driver were wearing the safety devices.

Oklahoma is the only state where passengers older than 7 and in a car’s backseat aren't required to wear seat belts, The Associated Press reported.

"The unbelted people put everyone at risk,” William Van Tessel of AAA told the AP. “In a crash, the unbuckled people fly around all over the place."