University of the Southwest golf coach Tyler James was killed in a head-on Texas collision Tuesday night, along with six members of the men’s and women’s team.
There were nine casualties in total, according to ABC News, with only two people aboard the college team’s van surviving the deadly accident.
The crash occurred near Midland, Tx. as the team was returning home to New Mexico from a competition. The names of the students were not released by authorities, but it was revealed that head coach Tyler James was killed in the crash.
Tyler James was in his first year as head coach of the men’s and women’s golf program at the University of the Southwest, school officials stated. He was allegedly driving the 17-person van when the collision occurred.
“The USW campus community is shocked and saddened today as we mourn the loss of members of our university family,” the school told ABC News.
“We are still learning the details about the accident but we are devastated and deeply saddened to learn about the loss of our students’ lives and their coach,” Southwest President Quint Thurman added.
The Texas Highway Patrol’s West Texas Region is currently investigating the road accident, as they determine what happened to cause such a deadly crash.
Sgt. Steven Blanco of the Texas Department of Public Safety reported that the school van collided head-on with a pickup truck on a two-lane road, killing the two people in the truck.
“For unknown reasons, the Dodge pickup drove into the northbound lane and struck the Ford passenger van head on,” Sgt. Blanco stated. “Both vehicles caught fire and burned.”
“It’s a very tragic scene,” he said of the crash when authorities first arrived. “Very, very tragic.”
The two surviving passengers in the school van are currently in critical condition at the local hospital in Lubbock, Tx. They were flown via a first responder helicopter to the facility that night.
“We would ask for prayers for their recovery and for comfort and strength for all of families and friends and students of those whose lives have been lost,” a University of the Southwest spokesperson said in an official statement.
“USW is coordinating with Texas DPS to assist with the investigation and public information efforts,” the school continued. “University administration is communicating with families of the students and coaching staff to provide more information as it becomes available.”
The school is currently trying to notify families of the accident, as well as provide counseling services to students and faculty on campus.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham stated on Facebook that she was “deeply saddened” by the terrible accident, and that her “prayers are with the community and the loved ones of all those involved.”
Following the tragedy, the Midland College Golf Tournament was canceled.
“All of the players and their coaches from the participating schools met together early this morning,” Midland College Athletic Director Forrest Allen stated.
“We were all shocked to learn of this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with USW as they grieve this terrible loss,” he continued. “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.”
According to CBC Sports, another crash happened in the same area back in November when three people were killed in a similar incident. A pickup truck collided with a school bus carrying members of the Andrews High School band. The band’s director, the school bus driver, and the pickup truck driver were all killed in that crash.