13-year-old was driving truck in fiery crash with University of the Southwest bus, NTSB says

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Thursday, March 17, 2022
13-year-old was driving in crash with college golf teams, NTSB says
The National Transportation Safety Board said two days after the March 15 collision that its preliminary findings suggested that the 13-year-old was driving the pickup that struck the van

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.