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A University of the Southwest freshman has been identified as one of the six students who died along with their golf coach in Tuesday’s fiery, head-on collision with a truck in West Texas, which also claimed two other lives.
Laci Stone was returning with her teammates and coach to New Mexico from a tournament in Texas when the crash happened, killing six people on board their bus and leaving two others critically injured.
Law enforcement officials have not formally identified any of the nine victims in the two vehicles involved in the collision, but Laci’s mother, Chelsi Stone, revealed on Facebook that her daughter was among the dead.
‘I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy,’ Chelsi Stone wrote in a post. ‘Last night Laci’s golf team was involved in a crash leaving a golf tournament. Our sweet Laci didn’t make it. We are still waiting for a lot of details but as of right now that’s all I have. That our Laci is gone!’
The University of Southwest said in an update early Wednesday morning that the bus was carrying eight members of the men’s and women’s golf teams, and coach Tyler James, who was behind the wheel, when it was struck by a truck head-on in Andrews County on Tuesday night.
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Laci Stone, a freshman at the University of the Southwest in New Mexico, has been identified by her mother as one of the six student golfers who died in a fiery crash in Texas on Tuesday
Coach Tyler James (right) was in his first season as the head coach of the men’s and women’s golf program
A pickup truck crossed the center line of a two-lane road and smashed into the bus head-on
Sgt. Steven Blanco, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the Ford F-150 crossed the center line of a two-lane road and smashed into the bus.
Six students and James were killed along with the driver and a passenger in the pickup truck, Blanco said. Two students were taken by helicopter to a Lubbock hospital in critical condition.
Blanco said the crash occurred at around 8:17 p.m. about nine miles from the city of Andrews, found northwest of Midland-Odessa.
‘Both suffered extremely heavy damage,’ Blanco told NBC affiliate KWES of Midland.
‘It’s a very tragic scene,’ Blanco added. ‘It’s very, very tragic.’
The wreckage of a truck is seen in Andrew County, Texas, late Tuesday following a fatal collision that killed nine people in two vehicles
He said that the university-owned bus was travelling from a golf tournament in West Texas, and described it as a passenger van.
The teams had been scheduled to play in a tournament on Tuesday at Midland College, about 315 miles west of Dallas.
University President Quint Thurman said: ‘We are still learning the details about the accident but we are devastated and deeply saddened to learn about the loss of our students’ lives and their coach.’
‘My understanding is that two of our students have survived and have been airlifted to University hospital in Lubbock with serious injuries,’ Thurman added.
‘We would ask for prayers for their recovery and for comfort and strength for all of families and friends and students of those whose lives have been lost.’
Thurman named the coach as Tyler James, who was entering his first season as a coach of the men’s and women’s golf teams, according to an online biography.
The university confirmed the crash in a post of Facebook shortly after midnight on Wednesday, calling the crash ‘fatal’.
University of Southwest’s golfers were returning from a competition in Texas when their bus collided head on with a Ford F-150 on 1788
The University of the Southwest confirmed the crash in a post on Facebook (pictured)
Pictured: A sign at the University of the Southwest, based in Hobbs, New Mexico (file photo)
Nine people were killed when a bus carrying University of Southwest’s golf teams crashed in Texas. Head coach Tyler James (pictured) was among the fatalities, as well as six students
‘The University of the Southwest can confirm that there has been a fatal bus accident involving the USW men’s and women’s golf teams,’ the statement said.
‘The university is currently attempting to notify family members of those involved in the accident. Counseling and religious services will be available to students, faculty, and staff on campus. The university will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available,’ it added.
An investigation into the cause of the crash is on-going.
James was in his first season as the head coach of the men’s and women’s golf program.
The University of the Southwest is a private, Christian college located in Hobbs, New Mexico, near the state’s border with Texas.
The crash happened in the same area – but not the same roadway – where three people were killed in November when a pickup truck crashed into a school bus carrying members of the Andrews High School band.
The high school’s band director, the school bus driver and the driver of the pickup truck all died in that crash.