9 dead in Texas crash involving University of Southwest golf teams – Press Enterprise


Nine people died in a fiery head-on collision in West Texas, including six students and a coach from a New Mexico university returning home from a golf tournament, authorities said.

A pickup truck crossed the centerline of a dual carriageway in Andrews County, about 50 kilometers east of the New Mexico state line, Tuesday night and crashed into a van carrying members of the University of the Southwest’s men’s and women’s golf teams, said Sgt. Steven Blanco of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Six students and one faculty member were killed in the accident along with the driver and a passenger in the pickup, Blanco said. Two students in critical condition were helicoptered to a hospital in Lubbock, about 110 miles (180 kilometers) northeast.

Family members confirmed that freshman Laci Stone died in the crash. Stone graduated from Nocona High School in Texas in 2021 where she played golf, volleyball and softball.

“She has been an absolute ray of sunshine in such a short time on earth,” her mother, Chelsi Stone, said on Facebook. “…We will never be the same after this and we just don’t understand how this happened to our amazing, beautiful, intelligent, cheerful girl.”

According to her bio on the golf team’s website, Laci Stone studied global business management.

The National Transportation Safety Board will dispatch a 12-person “go team” to the crash site, including experts in human performance, vehicle and engine support factors and accident reconstruction, agency spokesman Eric Weiss said. The team is expected to arrive late Wednesday afternoon or early evening, he said.

“We’re going to try to find out not just what happened, but why it happened, so we can possibly prevent things like this from happening in the future,” he said.

The University of the Southwest is a private Christian college in Hobbs, New Mexico, near the Texas state line.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said on Facebook that she was “deeply saddened” by the loss of life.

“It’s a terrible accident. As we await further information from the authorities, my prayers are with the community and families of all involved,” she said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also expressed his condolences.

“We mourn with the families of those whose lives were horribly taken prematurely in this fatal vehicle accident near Andrews last night,” Abbott said.

The teams participated in a golf tournament at Midland College, about 505 kilometers west of Dallas.

“We are still learning the details of the accident, but we are devastated and deeply saddened by the loss of life of our students and their coach,” University President Quint Thurman said in a statement.

The university said on Twitter that it was working to notify family members of those involved in the crash and that counseling and worship services would be offered on campus.

Midland College, which hosted the golf tournament, said Wednesday’s game would be canceled because of the crash. Eleven schools are taking part in the event.

“All the players and their coaches from the participating schools met early this morning,” Midland College athletic director Forrest Allen said in a statement Wednesday. “We were 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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