NTSB: 13-year-old drove truck in crash that killed 9, including 7 University of Southwest golf team members

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The National Transportation Safety Board announced on Thursday that a 13-year-old boy was driving the truck in the fatal Tuesday collision that claimed nine lives, including six players from the University of the Southwest golf team.

NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said that the truck driven by the teenager blew a tire before crossing into the opposite lane of traffic on a west Texas highway and colliding head-on with a van transporting the USW golf team, the Associated Press reports. The van was en route to the USW campus in Hobbs, New Mexico following a golf tournament in Texas.

Landsberg didn't note how fast the vehicles were traveling but did say that "this was clearly a high-speed collision." NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss previously stated that the two vehicles burst into flames upon impact.

Per AP, prospective drivers take classroom courses in Texas at 14 years old and must be 15 to receive a permit to drive with an adult or driving instructor. A 13-year-old driving would constitute breaking the law.

Golf balls adorn a makeshift memorial at the Rockwind Community Links, Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Hobbs, New Mexico. The memorial was for student golfers and the coach of University of the Southwest killed in a crash in Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A Memorial in Hobbs, New Mexico marks the death of the USW student golfers coach who were killed in a collision on Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Six players from USW golf team and 26-year-old coach Tyler James of Hobbs, New Mexico died in the collision. The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the students killed in the crash as Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas, Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico, Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas, Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado, Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.

The unidentified 13-year-old boy and 38-year-old passenger Henrich Siemens of Seminole County, Texas also died in the crash, per the TDPS.

Canadian students Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview, Ontario were both hospitalized in critical condition. USW provost Ryan Tipton told AP on Thursday that both were recovering and in stable condition.