13-Year-Old Was Driving in Crash That Killed 9 People

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A 13-year-old boy was behind the wheel of the pickup truck that hit a van carrying members of the University of the Southwest’s golf teams in Texas on March 15, according to a statement provided to E! News on March 17. The crash killed nine people.

In the statement, National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said that the pickup truck’s left font tire blew out before colliding with the van. Landsberg also said that—while it’s unclear how each vehicle was traveling—it is apparent “this was clearly a high-speed collision.” 

A person must be at least 15 years old to drive with an instructor or licensed adult present in the state of Texas, the statement said.

Six student athletes at the New Mexico university—who were traveling for a golf tournament—were killed in the crash, along with their coach Tyler James. Both passengers in the pickup truck (including the 13-year-old driver) also died.

In another statement provided to E! News, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Steven Blanco explained that the crash occurred on a two-lane road near Andrews, Texas. “For unknown reasons, the Dodge pickup drove into the northbound lane and struck the Ford passenger van head on,” he said. “Both vehicles caught fire and burned.”

The University of the Southwest issued a statement on Facebook: “The USW campus community is shocked and saddened today as we mourn the loss of members of our university family.”

The statement continued, “While the accident investigation is still underway, reports indicate that seven passengers aboard the bus were killed in the crash. Two of the passengers are in critical condition undergoing medical treatment in Lubbock, Texas.”

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