ANDREWS COUNTY, Texas (KMID) – Six college athletes and a coach from the University of the Southwest in New Mexico have died following a tragic crash in West Texas.
The students and the coach were traveling back to the university, located in Hobbs, when the accident occurred, the Texas Department of Public Safety has confirmed.
The two-vehicle crash happened around 8:17 p.m. on Tuesday, on a stretch of FM 1788 in Andrews County. The driver of a Dodge 2500 pickup truck was heading southbound, and for unknown reasons veered into the northbound lane, colliding head-on with a Ford Transit van carrying members of the university’s men’s and women’s golf teams. Both vehicles caught fire following the crash.
The van was headed back to Hobbs following a golf tournament in Midland, Texas. University leaders had earlier said coach James Tyler was driving the van.
In addition to the students and coach who died, both the driver and the passenger in the Dodge were killed. The names of the victims have not yet been released.
Two other students were airlifted to University Medical Center in Lubbock, where they are said to be in critical condition.
The crash is being investigated by the Texas Highway Patrol’s West Texas Region District Crash Team, with assistance from the National Transportation Safety Board. The investigation is still ongoing.
In a statement released Tuesday, university leaders said the USW community “is shocked and saddened today as we mourn the loss of members of our university family.”