9 dead, 2 injured in University of Southwest golf team crash

File photo: Pond5

March 16 (UPI) — A University of Southwest college van carrying its men’s and women’s golf teams collided head-on with a pickup truck in West Texas, killing nine people and injuring two, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday.

The casualties included six students and their coach, as well as the driver and passenger in the other involved vehicle.

The Ford passenger van registered by USW was traveling northbound on Farm-to-market road 1788 near State Highway 115 highway in Andrews County, Texas, on Tuesday evening while a Dodge 2500 pickup was traveling southbound.

According to a Texas DPS statement reported by News West 9, the pickup truck drove head-on into the van at 8:17 p.m.

The crash killed Tyler James, USW’s golf coach who was driving the van at the time, as well as 38-year-old truck driver Henrich Siemens, of Seminole. Siemens’ passenger, a 13-year-old boy not being identified at this time, also died in the collision.

The USW students killed were Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colo.; Karissa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.

Two other students, Dayton Price and Hayden Underhill, were transported to the hospital, where the latest update indicates both were in critical condition, according to News West 9.

In a statement, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state’s public safety department was working closely with local law enforcement to investigate the crash.

“We grieve with the loved ones of the individuals whose lives were horrifically taken too soon in this fatal vehicle crash near Andrews last night,” Abbott said.

USW is a private Christian university based in Hobbs, N.M. James was entering his first season as head coach of both the men’s and women’s golf teams, officials confirmed.

The team was headed to a tournament in Midland, Texas, on Thursday and was scheduled to play in a tournament at Midland College.

“We are still learning the details about the accident, but we are devastated and deeply saddened to learn about the loss of our students’ lives and and their coach,” university President Quint Thurman said in a statement to NBC News on Tuesday evening.

The Texas Highway Patrol crash team will be overseeing the investigation.


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