A 13-year-old was driving a pickup truck that crashed right into a van carrying members of a New Mexico college’s golf groups, killing 9 folks in West Texas on Tuesday night time, officers mentioned Thursday.
An early investigation revealed that the truck had a spare wheel rather than its left entrance tire, in line with National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg. That spare tire appeared to have failed, inflicting the truck to swerve in entrance of the van.
“A 13-year-old child was behind the wheel of the pickup truck,” Landsberg mentioned throughout a Thursday information convention.
The wheel didn’t look like an emergency-use “doughnut” spare, however was just like the remainder of the tires. The left entrance tire had a metal rim that remained intact whereas the three different tires have been extensively broken.
The van was carrying members of the University of the Southwest males’s and ladies’s golf groups, who have been touring for a match.
Six of the student-athletes have been killed within the crash, together with a coach. The 13-year-old pickup truck driver and a passenger, 38-year-old Henrich Siemens, have been additionally killed within the crash.
The Texas Department of Public Safety recognized the fatally injured coach and group members Wednesday as Tyler James, 26; Mauricio Sanchez, 19; Travis Garcia, 19; Jackson Zinn, 22; Karisa Raines, 21; Laci Stone, 18; and Tiago Sousa, 18.
Dayton Price, 19, and Hayden Underhill, 20, the 2 different folks within the van, have been listed in essential situation. Landsberg didn’t have an replace on their situation Thursday.
The Texas Department of Public Safety made the willpower that the kid was driving based mostly on the identification of the stays within the driver seat following a post-crash fireplace, Landsberg mentioned.
Landsberg famous that the NTSB is an impartial company that can examine the crash however will not be concerned with potential felony fees.
NTSB investigators are nonetheless trying into whether or not the car recorders survived the crash to obtain knowledge on how briskly they have been going previous to the accident. The pace restrict on the freeway is 75 mph.
“It was very clearly a high-speed, head-on collision between two heavy vehicles,” Landsberg mentioned. “We have literally thousands of pictures that were taken by the various first responders, and there is no question about the force of impact.”
Several passengers within the van appeared to not have been sporting seatbelts throughout the crash, and not less than one was ejected from the car throughout the collision.
The NTSB preliminary report might be launched in roughly two to 3 weeks, however a last report is not going to be launched for 12 to 18 months, in line with Landsberg.
Highways see a uniquely excessive quantity of fatalities, with Landsberg noting that the variety of folks killed each two days on the nation’s highways is “the equivalent of a Boeing 737.”
“The carnage on our highways exceeds any other mode of transportation,” he mentioned. “In no other mode would we tolerate 100-plus fatalities each and every day. … So we think it’s high time we take our driving a bit more seriously.”