A 13-year-old unnamed boy is involved in an auto crash that killed a total of nine people in West Texas on Tuesday. Six students and members of the golf team at the University of the Southwest (USW), and their coach had died in the accident, plus the boy and another adult. The crash occurred when the tire of the truck the boy was driving blew and the vehicle veered onto the coming van transporting the USW students.
The students who lost their lives were Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas; Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado; Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal. The golf coach of the students and players was 26-year-old Tyler James, who also died in the crash.
The man in the truck with the kid driver was Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole in Texas.
Two students survived the accident. They are Dayton Price, 19, from Mississauga; and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview. They are currently undergoing treatment at the University Medical Center of Lubbock, Texas.
Authorities are still investigating what made the tire of the Dodge 2500 pickup truck driven by the kid driver to burst, but the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vice-Chairman Bruce Landsberg said both vehicles involved in the crash may have been at top speed. He said they may have been moving at the posted speed limit of 75 mph.
The USW students were members of the golf team who had gone to play a tournament in Midland, Texas. They were traveling back to New Mexico in an 11-passenger Ford Transit van when the accident happened on the highway outside Andrews, Texas. The NTSB said the night was clear and there was no fog or wind when the accident occurred – simply a high impact head-on collision between two vehicles on high speed.
Family members, community residents, and the USW community continue to mourn the death of the students and to extol their virtues. A GoFundMe campaign which already harnessed $250,000 was created to settle the medical expenses of the two survivors and the funeral of the victims.