Victims named in I-17 wrong-way crash

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Courtesy: Facebook. Keaton Allison Courtesy: Facebook. Keaton Allison
Kelsey and Karli Courtesy: Facebook Kelsey and Karli Courtesy: Facebook
Courtesy: Facebook.  Karli Richardson Courtesy: Facebook. Karli Richardson
Courtesy: Facebook.  Kelsey Richardson Courtesy: Facebook. Kelsey Richardson
Courtesy: Facebook.  Kelsey Richardson Courtesy: Facebook. Kelsey Richardson

The Arizona Department of Public Safety has identified the driver and the two victims killed in Friday morning's wrong-way collision on I-17 near Greenway.

Kelsey Richardson, age 18, was in Arizona visiting her sister, Karli, 20.

The girls' family they were good students, and very ambitious. Both graduated high school with college credits already under their belts. Karli was preparing to graduate from GCU this spring, and Kelsey was an aspiring doctor, enrolled at Western Carolina University. 

"Very intelligent girls, with so much to offer the world. God-fearing girls. They were very fun-loving girls. They loved the outdoors. they loved doing things outside," said their mother Cathy Hocking. 

The two had hit the road early that morning to catch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon.

They never made it. The hadn't even gotten out of Phoenix. 

They were hit head-on by another GCU student, 21-year-old Keaton Allison of Colorado. He somehow managed to get on the I-17 heading in the wrong direction.

All three were killed.

[READ MORE: Wrong-way driver hits, kills sisters on I-17 in Phoenix]

"I know my children are in heaven, but I do wish they were still here with me," said Hocking. 

Investigators say impairment has not been ruled out.

"Shouldn't we be angry? But we're really, you lost a son, and we feel your pain, too. We pray for you because we all lost children," said Hocking. 

Their biological father, Perry Richardson, says he remembers the moment he found out what happened. 

 “We didn’t have to worry about them getting in trouble, that’s why it was such a shock when the state highway patrolman called and asked me if I had two daughters named Kelsey and Karli. Those were the last two people I would have thought anything bad would be happening to,” said Richardson.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Wrong-way drivers]

The GCU community is especially hard hit by this loss. 

"She definitely shined a bright light in my life and provided me with such a wonderful friendship. She was always there for me when I needed someone and always provided me with real and wise advice," said Karli's roommate, Ranzel Tinio. 

GCU  is planning to hold separate services for the two students. Allison's will be Tuesday night. And Richardson’s will be Wednesday at 8 pm. Both are private for students and staff only.

"He was a loving kid that wanted the best for everyone and always wanted people to be happy and having a good time. He was so accepting of everyone and his love for people was contagious," said Cole Anderson, one of Allison's friends.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

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Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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