Among the nine people killed in a car crash in Texas were the head coach and six members of the men’s and women’s golf teams at Southwestern University, authorities said.
The crash happened near Midland, Texas on Tuesday night, and only two people in the college team van survived, according to a statement from Southwest University in Hobbes, New Mexico.
The college confirmed that Tyler James, head coach of both the men’s and women’s golf teams, was among the dead. The coach and his team were returning home from a tournament in the Midlands when the accident happened, the school said in a statement.
In a statement to ABC Affiliate Station KMID in Midland, school officials said, “The USW campus community is shocked and saddened today because we mourn the loss of our university family members.”
The deceased was identified as Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico. Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Jean, 22, Westminster, Colorado; Carissa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; Lacy Stone, 18, of Nakona, Texas; And Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.
The school said in a statement that two of the passengers in the van who survived the wreckage were in critical condition at a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, on Wednesday. They were later identified as Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview, Ontario.
“We pray for the recovery of those who lost their lives and for the comfort and strength of their families and friends and for the students,” school officials said in a statement.
Sergeant Steven Blanco of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the crash happened at about 8:17 a.m. Tuesday on a two-lane road nine miles east of Andrews, Texas, when a 17-seater passenger van carrying the golf team collided with a pickup truck. .
Authorities say two people in the pickup truck were killed. They were identified as Heinrich Siemens, 38, and an unnamed 13-year-old from Seminole, Texas.
A preliminary investigation has indicated that the driver of the southbound pickup truck entered the northbound lane and collided with the van for unknown reasons, the Public Safety Department said Wednesday. The agency said both vehicles caught fire after the crash.
Blanco said the cause of the crash is under investigation in the West Texas area of the Texas Highway Patrol.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced Wednesday afternoon that it has sent an 11-member team to Texas, including accident reconstruction experts, to conduct an accident investigation in conjunction with a highway patrol.
NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss told a news conference the speed limit at the crash site was 75 miles per hour. Weiss said determining the speed of the vehicle during the collision would be part of the investigation.
“It’s a very sad scene. Very tragic,” Blanco said, describing the accident when officers first arrived.
University officials confirmed that James was driving the car at the time of the collision.
James was head coach of both men’s and women’s golf teams in his first year, school officials said.
School officials said they were working Wednesday to inform the families of all those involved in the crash and to provide counseling and religious services to all students, teachers and staff on campus.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Wednesday urging Texans to pray for the families of those who lost their lives and for the recovery of two seriously injured students.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives of those who lost their lives in this horrific car crash near Andrews last night,” Abbott said.