“I’m a mess:” Family heartbroken after daughter killed in tragic I-85 van crash

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The family of a woman killed in a crash that claimed half a dozen lives over the weekend want answers about how their daughter died.

Ashleigh Paris, 26, was one of at least six people killed and 10 others were injured when the passenger van they were in rolled over, causing a crash on I-85 near the I-985 split Saturday.

Her parents are understandably devastated as they try to piece together exactly what happened to their daughter, who they say was trying to get her life back on track.

Investigators say they are too after spending another day working to confirm the identities of all six people killed. They are still working on positively identifying one person.


“I’m a mess. One minute I’m ok, the next minute I’m bawling my eyes out, I’m shaking, I’m crying,” said her father, Steve Parris. “She finally got sober, she got baptized and now she’s gone.”

Sixteen people were in the van heading to a sobriety meeting in Buford. Ashleigh had checked herself into a residential treatment facility and was hoping to get clean.

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Her parents say her best friend was by her side when she died.

“Her best friend that survived were actually singing,” her stepmother Elizabeth Baasel said.

Gwinnett County police are trying to figure out if another car cut the van off or if the weight of having sixteen people inside contributed to the rollover.

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Investigators have not been able to identify if another vehicle was potentially involved. They plan to go over what is left of the van and try to find any signs of a collision. They are asking for witnesses to come forward and help give this and other families the answers they need.

“My heart is not going to settle until I know what happened. I just can’t blow it off and say it’s just an accident. I need to know what caused the accident,” said Steve Paris. “I need closure for my baby girl. She was daddy’s little girl.”

Services for Ashleigh are being held Sunday in Woodstock.