Family and friends are mourning four young people whose lives were lost in a multi-vehicle crash Monday night on Interstate 35W in Fort Worth.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the four as 31-year-old Susana Longoria, 23-year-old Kiara Barker and 25-year-old Chase Mapes, who all died at the accident scene Monday night. Jasmine Jones, 21, died at a hospital.
Barker was from originally from Bastrop, Louisiana, according to the ME’s office, and Mapes was from Yukon, Oklahoma. The medical examiner didn’t release the hometowns of Longoria or Jones, but they appeared to be from the Fort Worth area, according to social media.
A GoFundMe account started by Barker’s family says, “Due to sad events we lost a beautiful soul .. Kiara was tragically taken away too soon and now our family is asking for any and all help to pay for Kiara to be sent home from Texas to Louisiana, and for help with the cost of her burial service.”
“Kiara was a fun, outgoing person,” said Kiara’s father, Chacobe Barker, in a phone call with the Star-Telegram. “If she liked you and she included you in her circle, then you had somebody that was gonna go to bat for you no matter what.”
Chacobe Barker said Kiara was passionate about pursuing a career in music. He also said she took a semester off from college and moved to Dallas on her own.
“She started making something for herself,” said Chacobe Barker.
According to her father, Kiara had been hit by an 18-wheeler in another accident two months ago and was injured. Although Chacobe Barker and Kiara’s family did not know her roommate, Jones, he said Jones’ family has been supportive.
“Just the warmth and comfort, we’re giving it back and forth,” Chacobe Barker said.
He says his niece, who organized Kiara’s GoFundMe, has received words of comfort from several others.
“To see or hear the responses, hear my niece telling me the responses and everything, it’s just overwhelming,” Chacobe Barker said.
Mapes’ mother, Sherrea Taylor, told WFAA-TV that Chase was her oldest child and only son and had come to North Texas from Oklahoma to help her with some work. On his way home, she believes that he and his passenger pulled over to try to help people involved in the initial crash that was followed by a chain of collisions.
His passenger was taken to the ICU, she told WFAA.
Taylor wrote in a Facebook post that her son “would have stopped to help because that’s the kind of man I raised. He was loving life to the fullest and would help anyone out.”
Longoria’s family told KDFW-TV that she was a student at Tarrant County College and has a 9-year-old daughter.
Five people who survived — one woman and four men — were injured and transported to hospitals, authorities said.
Fort Worth police said the crash started as a minor accident around 9 p.m. but quickly grew into a major incident as people stopped to help and other vehicles crashed into the cars involved in the original wreck.
The initial accident happened south of Berry Street and north of Felix Street, heading northbound on I-35W. Two drivers pulled over the left shoulder. After the driver of a truck stopped to help and partially blocked the left lane, an 18-wheeler crashed into the stopped vehicles, police said.
A second 18-wheeler then hit the first, according to police.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but police said Monday night they don’t believe alcohol, speed or weather were factors. It wasn’t raining at the time of the initial collision, reported at 9:09 p.m., police spokesperson Officer Daniel Segura said.