13 boy texas crash

13-Year-Old Boy Drove Truck That Hit Van in Texas, Killing 9, Including College Golfers

A 13-year-old was driving the pickup truck that crashed into a van carrying members of a New Mexico university’s golf team. The West Texas crash resulted in nine fatalities on Tuesday night, authorities revealed on Thursday.

A cursory investigation revealed that the truck had a spare wheel in place of its left front tire, the National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman, Bruce Landsberg said. That spare tire looks to have failed, causing the truck to swerve in front of the van.

The Van Carried Members of the University of the Southwest Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams to a Tournament.

13-year-old boy drove truck that hit van in texas, killing 9, including college golfers
Shutterstock

“A 13-year-old child was behind the wheel of the pickup truck,” Landsberg revealed during a news conference on Thursday.

The wheel on the truck did not appear to be an emergency-use “doughnut”-style spare but resembled the rest of the tires. The left front tire had a steel rim that remained intact while the three other tires were extensively damaged.

13-year-old boy drove truck that hit van in texas, killing 9, including college golfers
Occupants of the Van / KWES

The van carried members of the University of the Southwest men’s and women’s golf teams, who were traveling to compete in a tournament.

Six of the student-athletes were killed in the crash, along with a coach, NBC News reported. The 13-year-old pickup truck driver and a passenger, 38-year-old Henrich Siemens, were also both killed in the crash.

The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the fatally injured coach and team members yesterday, Wednesday, as Tyler James, 26; Mauricio Sanchez, 19; Travis Garcia, 19; Jackson Zinn, 22; Karisa Raines, 21; Laci Stone, 18; and Tiago Sousa, 18.

13-year-old boy drove truck that hit van in texas, killing 9, including college golfers
Occupants of the Van / KWES

The two others in the van were later identified as Dayton Price, 19, and Hayden Underhill, 20. They are both listed as being in critical condition. At Thursday’s press conference, Landsberg had no further details on their condition.

A determination was made by the Texas Department of Public Safety that a child was behind the wheel of the pickup truck based on the identification of the remains in the driver seat following a post-crash fire, Landsberg explained.

13-year-old boy drove truck that hit van in texas, killing 9, including college golfers
Occupants of the Van / KWES

Landsberg cautioned that the NTSB is an independent agency that will investigate the crash but is not involved with potential criminal charges.

The NTSB investigators are still looking into whether any vehicle recorders survived the crash to download data on how fast they were going before the accident. The speed limit on the highway is 75 mph.

13-year-old boy drove truck that hit van in texas, killing 9, including college golfers

“It was very clearly a high-speed, head-on collision between two heavy vehicles,” Landsberg shared. “We have literally thousands of pictures that were taken by the various first responders, and there is no question about the force of impact.”

Several passengers inside the van appeared to not have been wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash and at least one was ejected from the van during the collision.

A preliminary report from the NTSB will be released in approximately two to three weeks but a final report will not be released for up to 12 to 18 months, according to Landsberg.

Highways see a uniquely high amount of fatalities, with Landsberg pointing out that the number of people killed every two days on the nation’s highways is “the equivalent of a Boeing 737,” a chilling number.

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13-year-old boy drove truck that hit van in texas, killing 9, including college golfers
Shutterstock

“The carnage on our highways exceeds any other mode of transportation,” Landsberg also said. “In no other mode would we tolerate 100-plus fatalities each and every day. … So we think it’s high time we take our driving a bit more seriously.”

The tragedy of this crash was already overwhelming but knowing that it was caused by a minor, who lost his life as well, makes it all the more heartbreaking.

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