Six Family Members Killed in Crash; Teen Driver on Wrong Side of Highway

A tragic accident in Texas has claimed the lives of six family members after their minivan was struck head-on by a pickup truck. The truck, driven by a 17-year-old, was reportedly traveling on the wrong side of the highway. The family, returning home to Irving from a visit to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, was in a Honda Odyssey minivan driven by 28-year-old Rushil Barri.

The collision resulted in the deaths of Barri and five of his passengers. The victims included his cousin, his cousin’s wife, two children, and in-laws, all residents of Alpharetta, Georgia. The deceased were identified as Naveena Potabathula, 36, Nageswararao Ponnada, 64, Sitamahalakshmi Ponnada, 60, and children Krithik Potabathula, 10, and Nishidha Potabathula, 9.

A seventh occupant of the minivan, a 43-year-old man, sustained critical injuries. The teenage driver of the pickup truck and his 17-year-old passenger were also critically injured in the crash. All the injured parties were airlifted to John Peter Smith Hospital and Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital for urgent medical attention.

Ayyappala Bandaru, Barri’s roommate, expressed his shock and grief over the incident. He was alerted to the accident when Barri’s iPhone registered the crash. Attempts to reach the occupants of the car were futile, adding to the distress of the situation.

Barri, who had moved to the United States from India in August 2020, was remembered by Bandaru as an ambitious individual with big dreams. He described their relationship as brotherly and shared their shared struggles and aspirations.

The cause of the accident remains unclear. Sgt. William Lockridge of the Texas Department of Public Safety stated that it is still unknown why the teenager was driving on the wrong side of the highway. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.