THE 13-year-old boy who was driving the pickup truck that rammed a van in west Texas, resulting in an accident that killed nine people, has been identified.
Ricky Siemens, 13, and his father Heinrich Siemens, 38, were both killed along with six college athletes and their coach.
The students were part of the University of the Southwest golf team.
Head coach Tyler James and team member Laci Stone both reportedly died in the crash.
The other students killed were Mauricio Sanchez, Travis Garcia, Jackson Zinn, Karisa Raines, and Tiago Sousa.
Dayton Price and Hayden Underhill were listed in critical condition.
According to officials, the 13-year-old boy was determined to be the one driving the Ford F-150 at the time of the crash.
In Texas, a person must be 14 years old to begin taking classroom courses for a learner license and 15 years old to obtain a provisional license to drive with an instructor or licensed adult in the vehicle.
Public Safety Department Sgt. Victor Taylor said a 13-year-old would be breaking the law.
The truck’s left front tire, which was a spare tire, also blew out before the impact, said Bruce Landsberg, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Although it was unclear how fast the two vehicles were traveling, “it was clearly a high-speed collision,” Landsberg said.
The horror smash happened just after 8 p.m. local time Tuesday on Highway 115 in Midland, Texas.
The University of the Southwest, a Christian college based in New Mexico, confirmed that the victims included members of the university’s men’s and women’s golf teams.
The teams were returning from a golf tournament in West Texas.
University President Quint Thurman confirmed that head coach Tyler James had been killed.
He said: “We are still learning the details of the accident but we are devastated and deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life of our students and their coach.”
James was reportedly entering his first season as head coach of the men’s and women’s golf program Online Biography.
The school will provide updates on social media as they become available.
Laci’s death was confirmed on social media, according to her mother News channel 6.
Nocona ISD Athletics also named the student as it canceled its games as a mark of respect.
“Right now, our community is heartbroken at the tragic loss of one of our own,” she wrote on Facebook.
“Please keep Laci Stone’s family in your prayers!”
STUDENTS IN HOSPITAL
Thurman said two students survived and were flown to a Lubbock hospital.
When asked by NBC if the two airlifters were the only ones surviving in the van, Thurman said, “As far as I know, yes.”
The students were later revealed to be Price and Underhill, who are in critical condition.
Thurman said the vehicle was a 12-person van that was being driven by the bus and speculated he believes eight students may have been on board.
Sergeant Steve Blanco of the Texas Department of Public Safety said ABC: “It is a very tragic scene.”
He said both vehicles sustained “serious damage.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement in memory of the victims on Wednesday.
“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 Texas Department of Public Safety is working closely with local officials to investigate this accident and we offer our full support to the University of the Southwest and the State of New Mexico.
“I ask that Texans join Cecilia and I in praying for the families of those whose lives have been lost and for the recovery of two seriously injured students,” he added.
The investigation into the crash continues.
Heinrich was the father of five children and belonged to the Mennonite Church with his family.
The boy’s mother, Agatha Siemens, posted a tribute to her son on Facebook with a photo of the boy.
“I miss you so much,” she wrote on the phone while a Casting Crowns song played in the background.
“What I would give for one more day with you,” the song says.
Also posted were pictures of her husband Heinrich hugging her from behind while they both smile at the camera.
“Love of my life”, “I love you so much” and “My Best Friend” are written across the photo.
Funeral services are planned at the Mennonite Evangelical Church in Seminole, Texas, where the family lives.
Family members and friends who knew the six athletes killed in the crash remembered them as “terrific kids and community members” as the tributes continue to pour in.
“We pray so much for the families of all these other children,” said Gray Raines, whose daughter Karisa was killed.
“Right now we just think that we will wake up from this horrible nightmare. But it doesn’t happen.”
Sandy, Karisa’s mother, said in an interview with the Today’s show on Thursday: “Karisa was my baby. I don’t know what to do without her.”
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The US Sun team?
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17986708/university-southwest-golf-bus-driver-pictured-texas/ Boy, 13, who illegally drove dad’s truck into University of Southwest golf team bus, pictured after horror crash killed 9