Photo: Canadian Press
The entrance to Southwest University is seen on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Hobbs, New Mexico. A pickup truck crosses the center line of a two-lane highway in Andrews County, about 50 kilometers east of New Mexico. The sergeant said the government line on Tuesday night collided with a truck carrying members of the Southwest University men’s and women’s golf team. Stephen Blanco of the Texas Department of Public Safety. (Andy Prossig/Hobbs Daily News-Sun via Associated Press)
Nine people died in a shooting collision in West Texas, authorities said, including six students and a coach from the University of New Mexico returning home from a golf tournament.
A pickup truck crossed the center line of a two-lane highway in Andrews County, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of the New Mexico state line on Tuesday night, and collided with a car carrying Southwest University men and women. said the sergeant. Stephen Blanco of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Blanco said six students and a faculty member died in the crash, along with the driver and passengers in the truck. Two students in critical condition were flown by helicopter to a hospital in Lubbock, about 110 miles (180 kilometers) to the northeast.
Family members confirmed that new student Lacy Stone was among those killed in the crash. Stone graduated from Nocona High School in Texas in 2021, where he played golf, volleyball and softball.
“He has truly been a ray of sunshine during this short time on Earth,” his mother, Chelsea Stone, said on Facebook. “…we will never be the same again after this and we don’t understand how this happened to our beautiful, beautiful, smart and lovely girl.”
Lacy Stone previously majored in global business management, according to her resume on the golf team’s website.
Agency spokesman Eric Weiss said the National Transportation Safety Board would send a 12-person team to the crash site, including experts in human performance, vehicle factors, vehicle carriers and accident reconstruction. He said the team was expected to arrive on Wednesday evening.
“We will try to find out not just what happened, but why it happened, so we can prevent things like this from happening in the future,” he said.
Weiss said the golf team was traveling in a 2017 Ford Transit truck that was towing a box trailer when it collided with a 2007 Dodge pickup truck. Both cars caught fire after the collision, he said, calling it a “high-energy event.”
Weiss said the crash occurred on a two-lane asphalt highway with a top speed of 75 mph (120 kph), although investigators have yet to determine how fast the two vehicles were traveling.
Southwest University is a private Christian college located in Hobbs, New Mexico, near the state border with Texas.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Logan Grisham said on Facebook that she was “deeply saddened” by the loss of life.
“This is a terrible incident. While we await additional information from the authorities, my thoughts are with the community and the loved ones of all involved.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott also expressed his sympathy.
“We mourn the loved ones of those whose lives were horribly taken so early in the fatal car crash near Andrews last night,” Abbott said.
The team participates in a golf tournament at Midland College, about 315 miles (505 kilometers) west of Dallas.
“We are still learning the details of the incident, but we are devastated and deeply saddened to learn more about the loss of life of our students and their coaches,” university president Quint Thurman said in a statement.
The university said on Twitter that it was working to inform family members of those involved in the incident, and that religious counseling and services would be available on campus.
Midland College, which hosts the golf tournament, said Wednesday’s game would be canceled because of the incident. Eleven schools participated in this event.
“All the players and their coaches from the participating schools gathered this morning,” Midland College athletics director Forrest Allen said in a statement Wednesday. “We are all shocked to learn of this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with USW as they mourn this terrible loss.”
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