Six students and one coach from the University of the Southwest died in a bus accident also involving a pickup truck near Andrews, Texas, on Tuesday evening.
Texas Department of Public Safety reports the driver of the pickup truck and a passenger were also killed.
Two additional passengers in the USW van were taken by helicopter to a Lubbock hospital in critical condition.
Initial reports indicate coach Tyler James was among those who died.
According to preliminary information from DPS, on March 15 at approximately 8:17 p.m., the two vehicle crash occurred on FM 1788 approximately a half mile north of State Highway 115 in Andrews County.
A Dodge 2500 pickup was traveling southbound on FM 1788. A Ford Transit passenger van registered to the University of the Southwest in Hobbs was traveling northbound on FM 1788.
For unknown reasons, the Dodge pickup drove into the northbound lane and struck the Ford passenger van head on. Both vehicles caught fire and burned.
The van was transporting The University of the Southwest men’s and women’s golf team and was returning to Hobbs from a golf tournament in Midland.
The crash is being investigated by the Texas Highway Patrol’s West Texas Region District Crash Team with assistance by the National Transportation Safety Board. The crash investigation is still ongoing.
Here is USW’s statement:
“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.”