13-Year-Old Was Driving Pickup Truck In Fatal University Golf Team Crash

Nine died in the crash on Tuesday night, including six members of the University of Southwest's golf team and their coach

A close up of a club hitting a golf ball of a tee
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A 13-year-old boy was driving the pickup truck that collided with a van containing University of Southwest golf students on Tuesday night, it has been revealed.

The fatal crash, where the pickup truck and van collided head-on, left nine dead including six members of the golf team, their coach and both the 13-year-old and passenger in the pickup truck. The golf team were returning to New Mexico after a tournament in Texas.

The crash also left two students critically injured, with both being flown by helicopter to the Universtity Medical Center 110 miles away.

It is illegal for 13-year-olds to drive in Texas, with Department of Public Safety sergeant Victor Taylor confirming that a 13-year-old driving would be breaking the law.

The pickup truck had a spare tire on its left front which blew out prior to the collision, National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman Bruce Landsberg said, while also admitting that "this was clearly a high-speed collision."

The truck reportedly crossed into the opposite lane onto the two-lane highway in the moments leading up the collision. Investigations are ongoing to retrieve information from the vehicle's recorders.

The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the dead as: Golf coach Tyler James, 26, of Hobbs, New Mexico; and players Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado; Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.

Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole County, Texas, died whilst in the pickup truck as well as the unidentified 13-year-old boy.

The critically injured students, both from Canada, are stable and recovering, University of Southwest provost Ryan Tipson said. They have been identified as Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview, Ontario. 

A memorial took place at the golf course where the team is based, with flowers, golf balls and a handmade sign with a cross and the initials USW laid.

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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x