Six students and their coach were killed, along with two others, when a van carrying members of a New Mexico university’s golf teams and a pickup collided Tuesday night in West Texas, officials said.
Two more students were critically injured in the crash involving members of the University of the Southwest’s men’s and women’s golf teams, according to the school.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Steven Blanco said the collision happened around 8:17 p.m. on a two-lane road about nine miles from the city of Andrews, northwest of Midland-Odessa.
“For unknown reasons, the Dodge pickup drove into the northbound lane and struck the Ford passenger van head on. Both vehicles caught fire and burned,” the state agency said Wednesday in a statement.
Both vehicles burned, according to the statement. The two people in the pickup were killed.
The university-owned Ford passenger van was transporting the teams from a golf tournament in West Texas, Blanco said at the scene, according to video from NBC affiliate KWES of Midland.
The van was carrying nine people, including the teams’ coach, according to a university spokesperson. Seven people on the van, including the coach and the six students, were killed.
Two students were critically injured in the crash and flown to University Medical Center in Lubbock.
“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,” Southwest President Quint Thurman said in a statement.
He identified the coach as Tyler James. A biography on the school’s athletics site said James was in his first season as the head coach of the men’s and women’s golf program.
The crash is being investigated by the Texas Highway Patrol, with assistance from the National Transportation Safety Board.
“USW is coordinating with Texas DPS to assist with the investigation and public information efforts,” the university said in a statement. “University administration is communicating with families of the students and coaching staff to provide more information as it becomes available.”
The university’s website listed events for both golf teams at Midland College on Tuesday. A post on the school’s athletics Instagram said they would be competing in the TankLogix Collegiate.
Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.