A 35-year-old woman was arrested July 8 in connection with a three-vehicle collision that killed a family of six and injured five on the I-10 in Tonopah.
Iyona Holton was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on multiple charges, including four counts of aggravated assault, a Class 2 felony; one count of possession of dangerous drugs, a Class 6 felony; and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class 6 felony.
According to the Department of Public Safety, the collision involved two passenger vehicles and a commercial tractor-trailer on the eastbound I-10 at milepost 82 near Tonopah at 1:30 p.m. July 2.
DPS investigators determined the two passenger vehicles — a GMC Envoy and a Nissan Altima — were traveling west on I-10 on a road trip to California. Both vehicles drove into and through the dirt median, a marked “No U-Turn” zone, to turn around and travel east on I-10. As the GMC and Nissan entered the eastbound travel lanes, they were struck by a commercial tractor-trailer.
As a result of the collision, the GMC and Nissan sustained significant damage.
The GMC’s driver, Holton, and her four children — a 2-year-old, two 10-year-olds and a 14-year-old — were transported to nearby hospitals with serious injuries. Holton was arrested when she was discharged.
The driver of the Nissan, identified as 35-year-old Phoenix resident Natisha Nicole Moffett, and her five children suffered fatal injuries and were declared deceased at the scene. The Michigan native’s children were Jo’syia, 17; Giovanni and Santari, 16; Malik Jr., 8; and Makayla, 5.
Moffett’s mother, Ynes Morrow, organized a GoFundMe fundraiser to cover the cost of returning the family to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for burial. Moffett’s husband and father of three of her children, Malik Thomas-Blakney, told Fox 17 that he misses them already.
“They taught me unconditional love,” he said. “No matter what you go through in life — no matter what — family is first.”
According to the GoFundMe page, Moffett and her family relocated to Phoenix two years ago to “follow her dreams.” Holton, whom Morrow described on GoFundMe as Moffett’s best friend, got a flat tire, and Moffett followed her into the median to help.
Moffett attempted to get out of the car to provide aid when she was struck by the truck driver. The collision “pushed her body into both her and her friend’s car and instantly caught fire and took the lives of her and her children,” Morrow said on the website.
“Please hear my cry out because, as a mother, I need a village for this one,” Morrow said. “I’m broken.”
The GoFundMe page was recently updated, and Morrow asked for “justice.”