This We Know About The Accident In Texas Where 9 People Died

Pete Alonso, after accident: “I appreciate being alive” 1:20

(WABNEWS) — The Southwest University golf teams, a mix of students from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Portugal, were returning to campus after a tournament when a pickup truck suddenly swerved in front of their van in rural Texas.

The intense accident on tuesday night It killed nine people, including the golf coach and six players, and left grieving families, loved ones and the small Christian college in Hobbs, New Mexico searching for answers. The two occupants of the van, including the 13-year-old boy at the wheel, were also killed.

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“The truth is, we may never know what caused this other vehicle to drift out of the lane,” said Ryan Tipton, the president of Southwest University.

As the tight-knit private university prepares for a memorial assembly next week and a prayer team and counselor comfort students, here’s what we know about the tragedy.

An underage driver and a failed spare tire

Authorities have not released the name of the minor who, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB, for its acronym in English), was driving the van.

In Texas, a minor can start a driver’s education course (in the classroom) at age 14, but must be at least 15 years old to apply for a learner’s license, according to the website of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

It is unclear why the minor was driving Tuesday night. Authorities have not disclosed his relationship to the other occupant, identified as Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole, Texas.

Preliminary information indicates that the truck’s left front tire was a spare tire that failed, causing the vehicle to veer hard to the left and into oncoming traffic on a two-lane highway, he said. Thursday NTSB Vice President Bruce Landsberg.

Investigators identified the driver’s remains by their size, Landsberg said. Both vehicles were probably moving near the posted speed limit of 120 kilometers per hour, he said.

There is no doubt about the force of the impact

Members of the men’s and women’s golf teams were traveling back to campus from a tournament in Midland, Texas, school officials said.

Around sunset Tuesday, the Dodge 2500 pickup went into the wrong lane of a freeway outside of Andrews, Texas, and struck the 11-passenger Ford Transit van that was transporting crews, according to DPS.

The weather in the area was clear and fog-free, WABNEWS meteorologist Chad Myers said. There were no freezing temperatures and the wind was light, between 8 and 12 km/h.

“It was clearly a high-speed head-on collision between two heavy vehicles,” Landsberg told reporters. The NTSB sent a 12-member team to investigate.

“We have literally thousands of photos that were taken by various rescuers and there is no doubt about the force of the impact.”

Landsberg said it’s not clear why the full-size spare failed before the crash.

“On the roads 100 people die (a day),” he said. “Every two days the equivalent of a crashed Boeing 737 dies. Think about it. That’s what puts this into perspective. And we should have started doing something about it long ago.”

Thursday at least six people died in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 57 in Missouri, the Mississippi County Coroner told WABNEWS.

“Dejected and broken but strong”

As investigators try to determine what caused the crash, Southwest University is grappling with the emotional toll. “Our institution is broken and broken, but strong,” Paula Smith, the university’s vice president of financial services, said Thursday.

Many students at the university, with an enrollment of about 1,100 students, including about 300 on campus, will return from spring break over the weekend, and the school is planning a memorial assembly for next week, according to Tipton, the rector.

“This is not the kind of thing you would think could happen. And it shouldn’t happen,” he said.

Tipton added, “For any of you who have lost a loved one or family member, it’s the same feeling here. They’re not just students and coaches. They’re loved ones to us. They’re members of our family here on campus.” “.

One of the victims was Laci Stone, a first-year member of the women’s golf team who specialized in business management, according to a relative.

The six USW student-athletes killed in a crash Tuesday were identified as (top row, left to right) Laci Stone, Jackson Zinn, Karisa Raines, (bottom row, left to right) Mauricio Sanchez, Travis Garcia and Tiago Sousa.

“Last night Laci’s golf team had an accident leaving a golf tournament. Our sweet Laci did not survive,” Laci’s mother, Chelsi Stone, posted on Facebook. “Our Laci is gone! She was an absolute ray of sunshine during this short time on earth.”

Laci, 18, from Nocona, Texas, was one of three siblings.

“We will never be the same after this and we just don’t understand how this happened to our amazing, beautiful, smart, joyful girl,” her mother said.

The school identified the other students who died as Mauricio Sánchez, 19, from Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colo.; Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, from Portugal.

Gary Raines, Karisa’s father, said she was “a beautiful and intelligent young woman who was loved by all who knew her.” “She was passionate about God, her family, her education and her golf, in that order,” he said in a statement.

Coach Tyler James was 26 years old.

“A friend told me today that she had left a greater legacy in our small town of 10,000 people in the short eleven years she lived here than people in their eighties who have lived here their entire lives. Her influence and passion will be felt for years to come.” if not for generations.

USW President Quint Thurman confirmed the death of trainer Tyler James, who was 26 years old.

“Great coach and wonderful man,” Thurman said in an email. “There are no better!”

James’ biography on the school’s website said he was in his first season as head coach and played golf at the University of Ottawa and Howard Payne University.

“He always cared about us and made sure we were always okay on and off the golf course,” said freshman Phillip Lopez, who did not participate in the two-day tournament, hosted by Midland College.

A flower and golf ball memorial was set up at the teams’ field, Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs, WABNEWS affiliate KCBD reported.

“I can’t believe my teammates and coach are gone,” Lopez told WABNEWS.

Two people are in recovery

A makeshift altar was set up Wednesday at the Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Two survivors of the crash, both students from Ontario, Canada, remain hospitalized.

The students were identified as Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview. The two golfers were initially in critical condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, according to DPS.

They are recovering and making steady progress, according to Tipton.

“One of the students is eating chicken broth,” he said.

“I talked to the parents and they are there with them and they are recovering every day. The difference between winning and losing is minimal and every hour brings them one step closer to another day… There is no indication of how long it will take. take, but they are both stable and recovering and making more and more progress every day.

they started GoFundMe fundraisers to help pay the funeral and medical expenses of the victims. As of Thursday, more than $250,000 had been raised for the victims, according to a GoFundme spokeswoman, Melanie Yost.

— Steve Almasy, Rosa Flores, Amanda Watts, Joe Sutton, Gregory Lemos, Andy Rose, Caroll Alvarado, Chris Boyette and Christine Sever contributed to this report.

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