6 students and coach among 9 killed in college golf team van crash in Texas – KKTV

ANDREWS COUNTY, Texas (KOSA/Gray News) – Nine people were killed, including six University of the Southwest students and the golf coach, in a crash in Texas involving the team’s van, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Wednesday.
Two other students were in critical condition and airlifted to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas.
The Ford Transit van carrying the men’s and women’s golf teams collided with a Dodge 2500 truck. Public safety officials said the truck was traveling southbound when it moved into the oncoming lane for an unknown reason and collided head-on with the van, KOSA reported.
The driver and passenger in the truck also died.
The coach who died was identified by the university as 26-year-old Tyler James. The Texas Department of Public Safety released the names of the other victims Wenesday.
Those from the van who died were 19-year-old Mauricio Sanchez, 19-year-old Travia Garcia, 22-year-old Jackson Zinn, 21-year-old Karisa Raines, 18-year-old Laci Stone and 18-year-old Tiago Sousa.
Two other passengers who were in the van are in critical condition. They are identified as 19-year-old Dayton Price and 20-year-old Hayden Underhill.
The driver of the truck involved in the crash was identified as 38-year-old Henrich Siemens. The passenger was a 13-year-old boy, whose name will not be released due to his status as a minor.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it is sending a team to investigate the crash.
Family members earlier confirmed freshman Laci Stone was among those who died in the crash. She graduated from Nocona High School in Texas in 2021, where she played golf, volleyball and softball.
“She has been an absolute ray of sunshine during this short time on earth,” her mother, Chelsi Stone, said on Facebook. “… We will never be the same after this and we just don’t understand how this happened to our amazing, beautiful, smart, joyful girl.”
Team member Jasmin Collum had been scheduled to play but at the last minute decided instead to visit her parents in Houston, her mother said.
“Otherwise, who knows?” Tonya Collum said. “I told her God has a plan for her and that’s why she’s OK. We knew all those people on board. Basically the whole team is gone or in the hospital.”
The Texas Highway District Crash Team is investigating the accident.
University of the Southwest is a private Christian university in Hobbs, New Mexico. The university said on Twitter that it was working to notify family members, and counseling would be available on campus.
“The USW campus community is shocked and saddened today as we mourn the loss of members of our university family,” the school said in a statement. “Last night, the men’s and women’s golf teams were traveling back to campus from competition in Midland, Texas, when their bus was struck by oncoming traffic. Nine passengers, including the coach, were on the university bus involved in the fatal accident.”
The teams were returning from a tournament Tuesday at Midland College in Texas. Midland College President Dr. Steve Thomas expressed his condolences on behalf of the school in a statement.
“This is a devastating loss to that school, and words cannot express how deeply hurt we feel for their loss,” he said. “I have ordered the MC flag to fly at half-staff through Friday to honor the memories of Coach Tyler James and his team.”
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said on Facebook that she is “deeply saddened” by the loss of life.
“This is a terrible accident. As we await additional information from authorities, my prayers are with the community and the loved ones of all those involved,” she said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also expressed sympathy.
“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.
The university said on Twitter that it was working to notify family members of those involved in the crash, and that counseling and religious services would be available on campus.
The university has also provided a website where those interested can donate to help the victims and their families.
Copyright 2022 KOSA via Gray Media Group, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to the report. All rights reserved.

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