March 17 (Reuters) – A 13-year-old was driving the pickup truck that collided with a van in Texas, killing nine people, including six members of a New Mexico college’s men’s and women’s golf team and a coach, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday.
The fiery, head-on collision in West Texas on Tuesday left two others hospitalized. Read full story
“A 13-year-old child was behind the wheel of the pickup truck,” NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg told a news conference, saying it appeared “that the left front tire which was a spare tire had failed, which resulted in the vehicle pulling hard to the left and crossing into the opposing lane.”
“It was very clearly a high speed head-on collision between two heavy vehicles,” he added.
A 2007 Dodge 2500 pickup being driven by the 13-year-old struck the 2017 Transit towing an eight-foot cargo trailer and carrying the coach and eight team members of the University of Southwest College golf team, Landsberg said.
USW, a private Christian university in Hobbs, New Mexico, had said its van was carrying nine people, seven of whom died, and said two others were in critical condition at a Texas hospital.
The pickup truck’s driver and passenger also died in the crash, which occurred in Andrews County, Texas.
(Reporting David Shepardson in Washington, Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh and Dan Whitcomb; editing by Eric Beech and Bill Berkrot)