Thursday 17 March 2022

9 college students dead — including coach — in fiery Texas highway wreck

 At least nine people are dead after a head-on collision in West Texas, the Associated Press reported, including six students and a coach from a New Mexico university.

The students and faculty member were returning home from a golf tournament that took place over the weekend.

What are the details?

According to the report, a pickup truck crossed the center line of a two-lane road approximately 30 miles from the New Mexico state line on Tuesday evening, crashing into the van that was carrying the student golf athletes and faculty member who hailed from the University of the Southwest, a private Christian college in Hobbs.

Sergeant Steven Blanco of the Texas Department of Public Safety said that the crash was a "very tragic scene."

A report from ESPN noted that the driver of the pickup truck as well as its passenger were also killed in the crash, and two other students were taken to a Lubbock, Texas, hospital, where they were admitted in critical condition.

"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 outlet reported. "The team is expected to arrive late Wednesday afternoon or early evening, he said."

The National Transportation Safety Board's Chief of Media Relations Eric Weiss added, "We'll try to find out not only what happened, but why it happened, so we can possibly prevent things like this from happening in the future."

In a statement on the tragedy, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said that she is “deeply saddened” by the loss.

“This is a terrible accident," Grisham said. "As we await additional information from authorities, my prayers are with the community and the loved ones of all those involved.”

University of the Southwest President Quint Thurman added, "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."

Midland College in Midland, Texas, hosted the golf tournament. Its athletic director announced that Wednesday's play would be canceled out of respect for those lives lost in the disaster.

“All of the players and their coaches from the participating schools met together early this morning,” Forrest Allen said in a Wednesday statement. “We were all shocked to learn of this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with USW as they grieve this terrible loss.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) added, "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."

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