ANDREWS, Texas — A 22-year-old student from Westminster was among the nine people killed in a fiery head-on collision in West Texas Tuesday evening.
University of the Southwest golfer Jackson Zinn graduated from Ralston Valley High School in 2018.
Pastor Rick Long met Zinn's parents before Zinn was born. He's the family's pastor, and a close friend they trust to share how they want their son remembered.
"He was an accomplished student," Long said. "He had a 4.0 this year. He was an amazing golfer who I believed had an opportunity to go all the way and play at the very highest level."
Zinn loved the sport, and most of all, he loved his family, including two younger sisters.
"She said, 'I couldn't wait for us to be friends as adults and really enjoy this next season in our lives, and now that is not going to happen,'" Long said.
Long described Zinn as loving and kind, and a person who put everything into his 22 years.
"He did have aspirations to go as far as he could," he said.
Long said Zinn would have loved to play in the PGA, but also had aspirations of managing a large hotel chain.
Zinn was one of nine people killed in the Tuesday crash, which happened around 8:15 p.m. on a two-lane road in Andrews County, Texas, which is about 30 miles east of the New Mexico state line. A 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, Sgt. Steven Blanco of the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
Six students and a faculty member were killed, along with the driver and a passenger in the pickup truck, Blanco said. Two students were taken in critical condition by helicopter to a hospital in Lubbock.
The other victims who died were identified as:
- 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 was in the pickup truck
- Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole, Texas, who was in the pickup truck
The golf teams were returning to Hobbs, New Mexico from a tournament in Midland, Texas, the department said.
The department said the weather was clear and the road was dry at the time of the crash. Investigators are working to determine what caused the pickup to go into the oncoming lane.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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