9 dead in west Texas crash involving bus carrying University of the Southwest golf teams

ANDREWS, Texas (KTRK) -- 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 evening and crashed into a bus 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.

Six students and a faculty member were killed in the crash, along with the driver and a passenger in the pickup truck, Blanco said. Two students were taken in critical condition by helicopter to a hospital in Lubbock, about 110 miles to the northeast.

Initially, in a post on Facebook, the University of the Southwest said the faculty member killed was the golf coach, Tyler James.



"It's a very tragic scene," Blanco said. "It's very, very tragic."

The state agency later identified the remaining deceased as: Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado; Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.

Also killed were Henrich Siemans, 38, of Seminole County, Texas, and an unidentified 13-year-old boy who had been traveling with him in a 2007 Dodge 2500 pickup.

Critically injured aboard the van were Canadian students Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview. Ontario. Both were taken by helicopter to the University Medical Center in Lubbock, about 110 miles (180 kilometers) to the northeast.

Jasmin Collum, a native of Clear Lake, is a freshman golfer at the University of the Southwest, but was not on the bus when it crashed. Her mother, Tonya, said she was at home in the Houston area when the incident took place.

The National Transportation Safety Board will send a 12-member "go team" to the crash site, including experts in human performance, vehicle and motor carrier factors and accident reconstruction, agency spokesman Eric Weiss said. The team is expected to arrive late Wednesday afternoon or early evening, he said.

The University of the Southwest is a private, Christian college located in Hobbs, New Mexico, near the state's border with Texas.

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 Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued a statement on the bus crash saying, "Please join Jan and me in prayer for all of the victims of last night's horrific bus crash involving the University of the Southwest men's and women's golf teams outside Andrews, Texas. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and the entire University of the Southwest community during this difficult time. During tragedies such as this one, Texans also know to thank our brave first responders for their important work and dedication to Texas communities."

The teams were taking part in a tournament at Midland College, about 315 miles west of Dallas.

"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," University President Quint Thurman said in a statement.

The university said 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.



Midland College, which hosted the golf tournament, 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 Wednesday. "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.
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