The University of the Southwest confirms fatal accident involving van carrying golf teams on 1788, near SH 115

Posted on March 16, 2022




According to Texas DPS, the fatal crash happened on FM 1788 on March 15. 

A Ford passenger van that was registered by USW was traveling northbound, while a Dodge 2500 pickup was traveling southbound. For unknown reasons, the pickup truck drove into the van head on caused both vehicles to catch on fire and burn. 

The driver and passenger of the pickup truck were killed in the crash as well as the driver of the van. 

The result of the crash led to six students and one faculty member being killed in the crash in the van. Two more students were transported by helicopter to UMC in Lubbock.

The van was heading back from a golf tournament in Midland where both the women’s and men’s golf team members were competing. 

The crash is being investigated by the Texas Highway Patrol’s West Texas Region District Crash Team. 

The investigation is still ongoing. 


The University of the Southwest has released a statement around 8:30 a.m. stating that nine passengers were on the university bus involved in the fatal crash. 

Initial reports have indicated that seven passengers were killed in the crash, and that two more are in critical condition undergoing medical treatment in Lubbock Texas. 

The USW administration is communicating with families of the students and coaching staff as we speak. 

The Midland College Golf Tournament has been canceled due to the recent tragic events. 

“All of the players and their coaches from the participating schools met together early this morning,” said Midland College Athletic Director Forrest Allen. “We were all shocked to learn of this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with USW as they grieve this terrible loss.  I have talked with USW’s Athletic Director Steve Appel to let him know that all Midland College athletic team players and coaches are ready to help in any way during this time.”


NBC News received a statement from the President of the University of the Southwest President Quint Thurman. 

“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,” President Thurman said. “My understanding is that two of our students have survived and have been airlifted to University hospital in Lubbock with serious injuries. We would ask for prayers for their recovery and for comfort and strength for all of families and friends and students of those whose lives have been lost.”

It has also been confirmed that the coach of both golf teams, Tyler James, has been killed in the incident. James was entering his first season as the head coach of both the Men’s and Women’s teams. 

The team was playing in a tournament in Midland on Thursday, March 15, and were scheduled to tee off on Wednesday, March 16, against Midland College. 

A Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson has confirmed that a fatal accident involving a college van occurred on 1788, near SH 115, in Andrews County Tuesday night.

The University of the Southwest confirmed in a Facebook post that the van was carrying their men’s and women’s golf teams.

DPS said that the 17-passenger van and a Ford F-150 truck hit head-on.

The spokesperson said that due to the nature of the crash, they are not sure how many people died, but there were fatalities in both vehicles.

DPS was unable to release any more information on the accident at this time. 

TxDOT states both north and southbound lanes of FM 1788 are closed. All traffic is being detoured at County Road 7100.

The investigation is ongoing and NewsWest 9 will update this story as more details become available.



While the rise in oil and gas production benefits our local economies and provides numerous jobs for West Texas, New Mexico, and the Permian Basin, the increase also brings increased accidents involving equipment falling off 18 wheeler tractor trailers as well as car crashes, head on collisions with oilfield work trucks, oilfield accidents, and tank battery fires. In the last few years, the rise in oil and gas production has greatly increased crashes on Highway 285, or the Death Highway, that runs through Artesia and Carlsbad in Eddy County, New Mexico as well as Pecos, Mentone, Orla, and Kermit and Winkler and Reeves County. In addition, the last few years have seen numerous deadly crashes and accidents on Highway 1788, also known as telephone pole road near Andrews, Texas. 

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