x
Breaking News
More () »

NTSB: Child was driving pickup that struck van in West Texas, killing 9

The truck’s left front tire, which was a spare tire, also blew out before impact, the NTSB said.

ANDREWS COUNTY, Texas — A 13-year-old was driving the pickup truck that hit a van in a fiery West Texas collision that killed nine people, including a golfer from Westminster, National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said Thursday.

The 2007 Dodge 2500 pickup truck’s left front tire, which was a spare tire, also blew out before impact, Landsberg said.

One must be 14 in Texas to start taking classroom courses for a learner’s license and 15 to receive that provisional license to drive with an instructor or licensed adult in the vehicle. Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Victor Taylor said a 13-year-old driving would be breaking the law.

Although it was unclear how fast the two vehicles were traveling, “this was clearly a high-speed collision,” Landsberg said.

The crash happened around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday on a two-lane road in Andrews County, Texas, which is about 30 miles east of the New Mexico state line. The pickup truck crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a van carrying members of the University of the Southwest men's and women's golf teams, the Texas Department of Public Safety said. 

RELATED: Golfer from Westminster among 9 killed in Texas crash

The nine people killed in the crash were:

  • Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado
  • Tyler James, 26, of Hobbs, New Mexico
  • Maurico Sanchez, 19, of Mexico
  • Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas
  • Karissa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas
  • Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas
  • Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal
  • A 13-year-old boy from Seminole, Texas, who the NTSB says was driving the pickup truck
  • Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole, Texas, who was in the pickup truck
Credit: KWES

Two other students were taken to the hospital in critical condition, the department said. 

“They are both stable and recovering and every day making more and more progress,” University of the Southwest Provost Ryan Tipton said Thursday of the two injured students.

The University of the Southwest is a private, Christian college located in Hobbs, New Mexico, near the state line with Texas.

The golf teams were traveling in a 2017 Ford Transit van that was towing a box trailer when it collided with the truck, and both vehicles burst into flames, according to NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss.

He said the vehicles collided on a two-lane asphalt highway where the speed limit is 75 mph, though investigators have not yet determined how fast either vehicle was traveling.

While the preliminary crash report is expected to be released in two to three weeks, gathering the rest of the evidence will likely take months as it will involve reconstructing the scene, getting information from the vehicle recorders and interviewing witnesses.

A memorial was set up Wednesday at the course near campus where the team practices. There were flowers, golf balls and a handmade sign with a cross and the initials USW.

NewsWest9 contributed to this report. 

RELATED: 9 dead, including 6 college students, in West Texas crash

SUGGESTED VIDEOSLatest from 9NEWS 

 

Paid Advertisement