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NTSB Investigating Texas Crash That Killed 9 And Left Two College Golfers Critically Injured

UPDATE: 13-Year-Old Was Driving Truck That Struck Van In West Texas Killing 9, NTSB Says

ANDREWS COUNTY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) - Two survivors of a crash that killed nine people in West Texas remain hospitalized and a dozen federal investigators are at the scene looking for answers as to what caused the fiery head-on collision Tuesday evening.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a Dodge 2500 pickup drove into the approaching lane of a highway just outside Andrews, Texas, and hit a Ford Transit van carrying members of the golf teams from the University of the Southwest in New Mexico.

"For unknown reasons, the Dodge pickup drove into the northbound lane and struck the Ford passenger van head on," DPS Sgt. Steven Blanco said.

Six students and a coach in the van were killed as were the driver of the pickup and a 13-year-old passenger. Two other golfers were in critical condition at University Medical Center of Lubbock, Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a 12-member team to investigate. Spokesman Eric Weiss said Wednesday a fire consumed both vehicles after the "high-energy," head-on collision along FM 1788 north of SH 115.

Emergency responders heading to the crash were told by a dispatcher there were two vehicles on fire with people trapped inside, according to recordings on, which monitors radio traffic among many emergency departments.

One of the first responders to arrive said: "All units, I've got wrecked units on both sides of the highway, fully involved vehicles. I'm still trying to get up on scene and see what we have."

Members of the men's and women's golf teams at the University of Southwest were traveling back to their Hobbs, New Mexico, campus from a tournament in Midland, Texas, school officials said.

The remainder of the two-day tournament, hosted by Midland College, was canceled. There were 11 schools in the competition, which included both men's and women's teams, Midland College Athletic Director Forrest Allen said.

Meteorologists say the weather in the area of the crash Tuesday evening was clear with no fog. There were no freezing temperatures, and the wind was light.

The speed limit on the two-lane roadway is 75 mph, the NTSB's Weiss said, adding the speed of the vehicles was not immediately known.

'My Teammates And My Coach Are Gone'

As investigators work to determine what caused the deadly collision, the University of the Southwest is dealing with the emotional toll on its community.

"The USW campus community is shocked and saddened today as we mourn the loss of members of our university family," the university said in a statement.

Laci Stone
Laci Stone (credit: University of the Southwest)

One victim was Laci Stone, a freshman member of the women's golf team from North Texas who was majoring in global business management, according to a family member.

"Last night Laci's golf team was involved in a crash leaving a golf tournament. Our sweet Laci didn't make it.," Laci's mother, Chelsi Stone, posted on Facebook. "Our Laci is gone! She has been an absolute ray of sunshine during this short time on earth."

Laci, 18, of 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.

Nocona is about 110 miles northwest of Dallas.

The school identified the other students who died as 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.

USW President Quint Thurman confirmed the death of coach Tyler James.

"Great coach and a wonderful man," Thurman said in an email. "Don't make them any better!"

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

"He always cared for us and made sure we were always doing good on and off the golf course," said freshman Phillip Lopez, who did not participate in the tournament.

"I just can't believe that my teammates and my coach are gone," Lopez said.

The driver of the Dodge pickup was identified as Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole, Texas; the name of a 13-year-old male passenger in the truck was not released.

Students Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview, Ontario, were hospitalized. GoFundMe fundraisers were started to help pay for victims' funeral and medical expenses.

A memorial of flowers and golf balls has been set up in Hobbs, at the teams' home course -- Rockwind Community Links.


(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company contributed to this report.)

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