ANDREWS, Texas -- National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said Thursday that a 13-year-old was driving the pickup truck that struck a van in West Texas in a fiery collision that killed nine people.
The truck's left front tire, which was a spare tire, also blew out before impact, Landsberg said.
According to the NTSB, the crash happened Tuesday at about 8:17 p.m. on FM 1788 near Andrews. Officials said a 2017 Ford transit van was towing a 2019 Salvation 8-foot box trailer and was traveling on FM1788. The van, which was operated by the University of the Southwest, was headed back to Hobbs, New Mexico after a golf tournament in Midland.
Authorities said a coach and eight student passengers from the university's golf team were on board.
At the same time, a 2007 Dodge 2500 pickup truck was traveling on FM 1788, when it veered into the opposite lane and collided with the van head-on. Following the crash, a fire began and engulfed both vehicles.
According to the NTSB, the driver of the Dodge pickup was identified as a 13-year-old.
One must be 14 in Texas to start taking classroom courses for a learner's license and 15 to receive that provisional license to drive with an instructor or licensed adult in the vehicle. Department of Public Safety Sgt. Victor Taylor said a 13-year-old driving would be breaking the law.
Although it was unclear how fast the two vehicles were traveling, "this was clearly a high-speed collision," Landsberg said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
13-year-old was driving truck in fiery crash with University of the Southwest bus, NTSB says