Investigators with Tennessee Highway Patrol said it happened around 1 a.m. on I-269 near Highway 57, in Fayette County just east of the Shelby County line.
The crash killed Latricia Taylor, 34, of Collierville, along with a 9-year-old boy, 7-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl.
Investigators say Taylor, who had the three children in her Buick, was driving on the wrong side of the interstate when she struck a tractor-trailer carrying frozen meat. A THP report states she had been consuming alcohol and was not wearing a seatbelt.
In a subsequent report released on October 16, authorities said it's unknown if Taylor had been drinking prior to the incident. Authorities are waiting for test results to be returned.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured. THP said no criminal charges were filed.
Taylor's sister-in-law Toni Moore said Taylor, who family often called Nikki, was a mother of three, and said this was out of her character.
“Nikki was a wonderful mother,” Moore said. “She’s not a drinker. Everybody kind of social drinks but she’s not a drinker.”
Moore said Taylor was a hardworking mother who loved her kids, but was tired and made a terrible mistake.
She said in the car were Taylor's son Kylan, a smart, reserved 9-year-old; her nephew Dylan, a 7-year-old with an old soul who's always loving; and her niece Kayleigh, a feisty 3-year-old who loved to dress up.
Moore said she has no frustration toward her sister-in-law, and instead chooses to focus her energy on her family.
“Just love on us for a minute, Memphis. Just do that. That’s what we need," she said.
Note: This story was updated to reflect corrected information from THP regarding the gender of one of the victims.