PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Five people, including four children, were killed after their SUV vaulted 50 feet off a valley freeway overpass and ignited into flames on Wednesday night.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety tells Fox 10 that troopers responded to the scene just before 9:30 p.m., after the car drove off the 79th Avenue HOV ramp.
The SUV was speeding when it drove off the westbound HOV off-ramp, crashed through a concrete barrier, vaulted over a second barrier and crashed through a chain-link fence. The SUV then fell 50 feet to a median below the freeway and ignited in flames.
The driver 39-year-old Durjuana Miller of Phoenix and her four young children, ages 9, 6, 2 and two-months-old, died as a result of the fiery crash.
"We lost five lives in this tragic event, it is nights like these that will stay with you the rest of your life," said DPS Capt. Stephen Reutter.
Westbound I-10 was closed for about an hour while authorities investigate the crash.
UPDATE: I-10 WESTBOUND is closed at 75th Ave because of a crash. #PhxTraffic— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) January 14, 2016
Backup starts at 51st Ave. Exit early to avoid delays. CLOSED: I-10 WESTBOUND is closed at 75th Ave due to a crash. #PhxTraffic— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) January 14, 2016
The freeway was re-opened late Wednesday night.
Update: I-10 WB has reopened at 75th Ave, following crash. #phxtraffic— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) January 14, 2016
The HOV on-ramp was re-opened early Thursday morning.
The I-10 eastbound HOV on-ramp at 79th Ave has reopened. #PhxTraffic— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) January 14, 2016
DPS says the SUV failed to slow down enough to make a right turn off the exit ramp of the freeway. The driver slammed on the brakes, which caused skid marks on the freeway.
Thursday night the driver's oldest daughter spoke to FOX 10. She says she and her sister live in Texas, but her mother and 4 younger brothers had been living in Phoenix since last June. She spoke with her mom yesterday and she never thought it would be the last time.
"It's terrible, like my little brothers, they didn't deserve that, they don't know anything and they probably didn't even see it coming," said Keierra Fresch.
She says she heard about the tragedy early Thursday morning.
"My sister came in crying and she couldn't really speak, and she kept saying they're dead, and I kept asking who died, and she wouldn't speak and she was just crying," said Fresch.
This is not the first tragedy for the family, 3-years-ago Miller's son died from SIDS at the age of 6 months, and in 2014 her other son died from RSV at just 4-months-old.
Troopers are still working to determine the exact cause of the crash.