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Thirteen-year-old found to be driving pick-up truck involved in fatal crash, killing nine people including student golfers, in Texas

Nine people, including six members of the University of the Southwest's golf team and their coach, were killed in a crash in Texas' Andrews Count late on Tuesday evening; Unclear how fast the two vehicles were driving at the time of collision

The damage bus sits on the side of the road at the scene of a fatal car wreck early Wednesday,
Image: The damage bus sits on the side of the road at the scene of a fatal car wreck

A 13-year-old was driving a pick-up truck that struck a van in Texas in a crash that killed nine people, US officials said.

The truck's left front tyre, which was a spare tyre, also blew out before impact, National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman Bruce Landsberg said.

One must be 14 in Texas to start taking classroom courses for a learner's licence and be 15 to receive a provisional license to drive with an instructor or licensed adult in the vehicle. Department of Public Safety Sergeant Victor Taylor said a 13-year-old driving would be breaking the law.

Although it was unclear how fast the two vehicles were travelling, "this was clearly a high-speed collision," Mr Landsberg said.

A golfer drives by a makeshift memorial at the Rockwind Community Links Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Hobbs, New Mexico. The memorial was for student golfers and the coach of University of the Southwest  killed in a crash in Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Image: A makeshift memorial has been created at the Rockwind Community Links

The pick-up truck crossed into the opposite lane on a dark, two-lane highway before colliding head-on with a van, killing the boy, a man travelling with him, six New Mexico college students and a golf coach.

The University of the Southwest students, including one from Portugal and one from Mexico, and the coach were returning from a golf tournament when the crash occurred on Tuesday night. Two Canadian students were taken to hospital in a critical condition.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent an investigative team to the crash site in Texas' Andrews County, about 30 miles east of the New Mexico state line.

The golf teams were travelling in a 2017 Ford Transit van that was towing a box trailer when it collided with the truck, and both vehicles burst into flames, according to NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss.

He said the vehicles collided on a two-lane asphalt highway where the speed limit is 75mph though investigators have not yet determined how fast either vehicle was travelling.

The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the dead as: golf coach Tyler James, 26, of Hobbs, New Mexico; and players Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado; Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.

Also killed were Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole County, Texas, and an unidentified 13-year-old boy who were in the 2007 Dodge 2500 pick-up.

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