A 13-year-old boy was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that struck a van in Texas on Tuesday night in a collision that killed nine people, including a college golf coach and six of his players, along with the boy and a man traveling with him, officials said on Thursday.
Bruce Landsberg, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference that the truck’s left front tire was a spare that had blown out before the truck veered into the lane the golf team’s van was traveling in and struck the van head-on. It was unclear at what speeds the vehicles were traveling, but Mr. Landsberg noted that the speed limit in the area is 75 miles per hour.
“It was very clearly a high-speed, head-on collision between two heavy vehicles,” he said. “There is no question about the force of impact.” Both vehicles went up in flames in the collision near Andrews, Texas, about 50 miles east of the state line with New Mexico.
It was unclear why the 13-year-old boy, whose name was not released by the authorities on Thursday, was driving the truck. Henrich Siemens, 38, who was also in the truck, was killed in the collision, the authorities said.