Authorities say a 13-year-old was behind the wheel in a fiery car crash that left nine people dead, including student-athletes of a New Mexico college.
According to CNN, the collision occurred Tuesday night in West Texas, where a pick-up truck collided into a van carrying the University of the Southwest’s men’s and women’s golf teams. The crash resulted in the deaths of golf coach Tyler James, who was 26, as well as players Mauricio Sanchez and Travis Garcia, who were 19; Jackson Zinn, 22; Karisa Raines, 21; and Laci Stone and Tiago Sousa, who were 18. Authorities say the 13-year-old driver was also killed, along with the truck’s passenger, Henrich Siemans, who was 38.
The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed two student-athletes—identified as Dayton Price, 19, and Hayden Underhill, 20—survived the crash and were transported to a Lubbock hospital in critical condition.
“One of the students is eating chicken soup,” University of the Southwest Provost Ryan Tipton told CNN. “I spoke with the parents and they are there with them and they are recovering every day. It’s a game of inches and every hour leads to them one step closer to another day… There is no indication as to how long it’s going to take but they are both stable and recovering and every day making more and more progress.”
Authorities say the crash took place at 8:17 p.m. on a two-lane road near the city of Andrews, as the USW teams were returning from a golf tournament in Midland, Texas. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Dodge 2500 truck drove into the approaching lane of a highway—where the speed limit is 75 mph—and crashed into the 2017 Ford transit van. It’s unclear how fast each vehicle was traveling, though investigators said it was clearly a high-speed collision.
“It appears at this point in the investigation that the left front tire [of the pickup], which was a spare tire, had failed,” Bruce Landsberg, the NTSB Vice Chairman said Thursday.
Midland College announced it had canceled the rest of the two-day tournament, in which 11 schools were competing.
“These aren’t the kind of things that you ever even dream of happening. And they shouldn’t happen,” Tipton said. “For any of you that have lost a loved one or a member of your family, it’s the same feeling here. They’re not only students and coaches. They are loved ones to us. They are members of our family here on campus.”