(NewsNation) — A 13-year-old boy was behind the wheel of the Dodge truck that hit a bus, causing a fiery collision in West Texas that killed nine people, including six students and a coach at the University of the Southwest in New Mexico, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The boy, who also died in the crash, was driving on a spare tire that failed and caused the vehicle to pull hard to the left, crossing into the oncoming lane, NewsNation local affiliate KMID reported.
The nine passengers of the bus involved in the crash were members and the coach of the University of the Southwest’s men’s and women’s golf teams.
“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, adding that two students had been airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries. Their names have been released as Dayton Price, 19, and 20-year-old Hayden Underhill. Price’s body, according to a GoFundMe page created for him, has third-degree burns.
Both Price and Underhill are in critical condition and undergoing medical treatment in Lubbock, Texas, university officials said.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Steven Blanco said the crash happened around 8:17 p.m. on a two-lane road about 9 miles from the city of Andrews.
Texas Department of Public Safety identified the deceased as:
- the 13-year-old male from Seminole, Texas, who remains unidentified.
- Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole, Texas, the truck’s passenger.
- Tyler James, 26, of Hobbs, New Mexico, the coach of the golf teams.
- Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico.
- Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas.
- Jackson Zinnm, 22, of Westminster, Colorado.
- Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas.
- Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas.
- Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.
“Various aspects of highway safety have been on the NTSB’s most-wanted list for a number of years: DUI, distracted driving, youthful driving, tire safety, post-crash fire, excess of speed on rural highways, seatbelt use and ejections. We’re not here to speculate on the probable cause at this point, nor are we involved in any criminal aspect of this investigation,” said NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg, according to KMID.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.