13-Year-Old Drove Truck That Killed Nine, Including Student Athletes, in Texas Crash

A 13-year-old drove the pickup truck that crashed into a van carrying student athletes in West Texas, killing nine people, the National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB) said on March 17.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) determined the child was the truck driver based on the size of the remains in the driver seat following a post-crash fire, NSTB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said at a press conference.

Landsberg said that an early investigation revealed that the truck had a spare wheel in place of its left front tire that failed, causing the vehicle to swerve in front of the van that carried members of the University of the Southwest’s men’s and women’s golf teams and their head coach.

The wheel did not appear to be an emergency-use “doughnut” spare, but was similar to the rest of the tires.

The crash, which occurred on March 16, killed six members of the golf teams and their head coach, while two members remain in the hospital in critical condition.

Texas DPS identified the van passengers as head coach Tyler James and members Mauricio Sanchez, Travis Garcia, Jackson Zinn, Karisa Raines, Laci Stone, and Tiago Sousa.

Those injured were Dayton Price and Hayden Underhill, according to Texas DPS.

The crash also killed the underage driver, whose name has not been released, and 38-year-old passenger Henrich Siemens.

Landsberg said his team was looking into whether the vehicle recorders survived the crash to download data on how fast they were going before the accident.

Landsberg also said that “quite a number” of the van passengers were not wearing seatbelts.

NSTB will release its preliminary report in two to three weeks while a final report will not be released for 12 to 18 months, Landsberg said.

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