Drunk driver gets 20 years in prison for fatal Canadian County crash

Moore woman convicted of driving drunk, killing four people on I-40

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Ashley Louise Ricks

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

EL RENO – A Moore woman has been sentenced to spend 20 years in prison for driving drunk and killing four people in a Canadian County highway collision.

Ashley Louise Ricks, 34, had previously entered “blind” guilty pleas to four counts of first-degree manslaughter in connection with a deadly crash Oct. 17, 2020, on Interstate 40 near mile marker 120.

Ricks admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol and colliding with another vehicle, causing the deaths of Carol Jones, Laura Jones, Zachary Homant, and Lily Homant.

Having waived her right to a jury trial, Ricks appeared with attorney Joi Miskel at a Jan. 5th sentencing hearing in Canadian County District Court.

After hearing testimony from witnesses and receiving victim’s impact statements, District Judge Paul Hesse sentenced Ricks to 30 years in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections – with 20 years to serve in prison and 10 years suspended.

Sentences on all four counts will run concurrently. The defendant also was ordered to pay $1,000 in fines and $1,000 in victim’s compensation assessments.

After her release from prison, Ricks will be supervised by the state DOC while on probation.

Ricks, who has been housed at the Canadian County Jail since Nov. 17, 2020, will be transferred to a state prison.

She was formally charged Dec. 3, 2020, with driving under the influence of alcohol in the wrong direction “at excessive speeds” when she caused a head-on collision with another vehicle. That other vehicle’s four occupants – two of them children – died in the crash.

Ricks was driving a 2017 Jeep Renegade east in the westbound lanes of I-40 when she collided head-on with a 2003 Hyundai heading west, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

The impact sent the Jeep into a ditch, where it overturned. The Hyundai went into the center median and burst into flames while its four occupants were trapped inside, according to the OHP investigation.

The driver and three passengers in the Hyundai died from injuries sustained in the collision: Laura Jones, Carol Jones, Lilly Homant (age 8), and Zachary Homant (age 12).

Witnesses had called 911 to report the Jeep was speeding and traveling the wrong way on I-40 before the fatal crash.

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WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT

Ricks also is the defendant in an auto negligence lawsuit filed April 8, 2021, in Canadian County District Court.

Sam Homant, the father of the two children killed in the I-40 traffic collision, is plaintiff in the civil suit claiming wrongful death and loss of parental consortium.

Homant’s children – ages 8 and 12 – “were killed as a direct result” of Ricks’ negligence, according to the suit.

The victims’ father has “suffered the loss of companionship with his minor children” and “emotional trauma and pain” because of their deaths, the petition reads.

The defendant’s actions were “grossly negligent” and “without due regard” for the rights of others, according to the lawsuit.

Homant, represented by attorney Bryan G. Garrett, is seeking punitive damages. The case is pending.

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