ESPN News Services – March 16, 2022
Nine people died in a fiery, head-on collision in West Texas, including six students and a coach from a New Mexico university who were returning home from a golf tournament, authorities said.
A pickup truck crossed the center line of a two-lane road in Andrews County, about 30 miles east of the New Mexico state line, on Tuesday night and crashed into a van carrying members of the University of the Southwest men’s and women’s golf teams, said Sgt. Steven Blanco of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Blanco said six students in the team vehicle were killed, along with a faculty member. Two students were taken in critical condition by helicopter to a hospital in Lubbock, about 110 miles to the northeast.
“It’s a very tragic scene,” Blanco said. “It’s very, very tragic.”
University president Quint Thurman said in a statement earlier Wednesday that the teams’ vehicle was being driven by golf coach Tyler James and that James was among the dead.
“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 their coach,” Thurman said in the statement.
The driver of the pickup and its passenger were also killed, Blanco said.
“USW is coordinating with Texas DPS to assist with the investigation and public information efforts,” the school, a private Christian college located in Hobbs, New Mexico, said in a statement. “University administration is communicating with families of the students and coaching staff to provide more information as it becomes available.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said it is sending a team to investigate the crash.
The golf teams had been scheduled to play in a tournament at Midland College, about 315 miles west of Dallas.
Midland College said Wednesday’s play would be canceled because of the crash. Eleven schools are participating in the event.
“All of the players and their coaches from the participating schools met together early this morning,” Midland College athletic director Forrest Allen said in a statement. “We were all shocked to learn of this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with USW as they grieve this terrible loss.”
The crash happened in the same area — but not the same roadway — where three people were killed in November when a pickup truck crashed into a school bus carrying members of the Andrews High School band. The high school’s band director, the school bus driver and the driver of the pickup truck all died in that crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source – ESPN News Services
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