Several members of the University of the Southwest golf team, including the head coach, were killed on Tuesday night when a pickup truck collided with the team van on its way back from a competition in Texas.
Nine people — eight members of the men's and women's golf team and their head coach Tyler James — were aboard a passenger van traveling back to the USW campus in Hobbs, New Mexico, on Tuesday night. According to a preliminary report from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the van was driving northbound on a two-lane road in Andrews County when a Dodge 2500 pickup driving southbound veered into the other lane and collided with the van head on. Both vehicles eventually caught fire.
Six students and James were killed in the crash, according to Texas DPS, while two students were airlifted to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, and are in critical condition. The driver and passenger of the pickup truck were also killed.
USW released a statement about the crash on Wednesday morning.
“The USW campus community is shocked and saddened today as we mourn the loss of members of our university family. Last night, the men’s and women’s golf teams were traveling back to campus from competition in Midland, Texas, when their bus was struck by oncoming traffic. Nine passengers, including the coach, were on the university bus involved in the fatal accident. While the accident investigation is still underway, reports indicate that seven passengers aboard the bus were killed in the crash. Two of the passengers are in critical condition undergoing medical treatment in Lubbock, Texas. USW is coordinating with Texas DPS to assist with the investigation and public information efforts. University administration is communicating with families of the students and coaching staff to provide more information as it becomes available.
USW counseling staff and the worship team will be available on campus today to provide support for students, faculty, and staff. Please keep the families of students, coaching staff, and the USW community in your prayers as we come together to support one another during this difficult time."
Midland College Athletic Director Forrest Allen told KWES-TV that the Midland Golf Tournament, which the USW golf team had attended on Tuesday, has been canceled.
"All of the players and their coaches from the participating schools met together early this morning,” Allen said. “We were all shocked to learn of this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with USW as they grieve this terrible loss. I have talked with USW’s Athletic Director Steve Appel to let him know that all Midland College athletic team players and coaches are ready to help in any way during this time.”
Midland College president, Dr. Steve Thomas, also released a statement.
“We extend our condolences to the USW family,” Thomas said via CBS7. “This is a devastating loss to that school, and words cannot express how deeply hurt we feel for their loss. I have ordered the MC flag to fly at half-staff through Friday to honor the memories of Coach Tyler James and his team.”
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