Officials said that six students and their coach were among the victims in a collision between a van carrying New Mexico University's golf team members and a pickup truck Tuesday night in West Texas.
According to the school, two more students sustained serious injuries in the collision involving members of the University of the Southwest's women's and men's golf teams.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant. Steven Blanco stated that the collision occurred around 8:17 pm on a two-lane road nine miles northwest of Midland-Odessa.
"Unknown reasons, the Dodge pickup drove into a northbound lane and hit the Ford passenger van head-on. The state agency released a statement Wednesday saying that both vehicles caught fire and were burned.
According to the statement, both vehicles were set on fire. Two people were killed in the pickup accident.
Wednesday's fatally injured coach and team members were identified by the department as Tyler James (26); Mauricio Sanchez (19); Travis Garcia (19); Jackson Zinn (22); Karisa Raines (21); Laci Stone (18) and Tiago Sousa (18).
Hayden Underhill (20) and Dayton Price (19/19) were both listed as being in critical condition.
Henrich Siemens (38), was identified as the driver of the Dodge pickup. The crash also killed a 13-year old boy from Siemens.
Blanco stated that the Ford passenger van, which was owned by the university, was used to transport the teams from a West Texas golf tournament. According to video from NBC affiliate KWES Midland, Blanco spoke at the scene.
According to a spokesperson for the university, the van carried nine people, including the coach. The van was carrying seven people, including the coach, and six students.
Two students sustained serious injuries in the crash. They were flown to University Medical Center Lubbock.
Southwest President Quint Thurman stated in a statement that "we are still learning about the accident, but we are devastated by the loss of our students’ lives and their coach,"
The coach was identified as Tyler James. According to the school's athletics website, James was the first season as the head golf coach for both men and women.
The Texas Highway Patrol is investigating the crash with the assistance of the National Transportation Safety Board.
The university released a statement saying that the USW was coordinating with Texas DPS in order to help with the investigation. "University administration will communicate with the families of the students and coaches to provide additional information as it becomes available."
On Tuesday, the university listed events for both Midland College golf teams on its website. According to the school's athletics Instagram, they will be participating in the TankLogix Collegiate.
Midland College Golf Coach Walt Williams said that James was a friend and a colleague who will be deeply missed.
He said, "Very tragic. Very sad." He was a brilliant young man who was building a USW program.
Williams stated that the final round of the tournament had been canceled and the scoreboard was only left with the scores of the University of the Southwest teams, "in memory of these young people and their coach."