Driver in Crash That Killed Nine Was Only 13 Years Old

Boy was at the wheel of pickup that struck van
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 17, 2022 3:41 PM CDT
Driver in Crash That Killed Nine Was Only 13 Years Old
A golfer visits a makeshift memorial at the Rockwind Community Links Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Hobbs, New Mexico.   (AP Photo/John Locher)

(Newser) – A jarring revelation in a deadly crash: The National Transportation Safety Board 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, per the AP. The truck’s left front tire, which was a spare tire, also blew out before impact, said NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg. One must be 14 in Texas to start taking classroom courses for a learner’s license and 15 to receive a 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 pickup crossed into the opposite lane on a darkened, two-lane highway before colliding head-on with a van. Among the dead were six New Mexico college students and a golf coach, as well as the 13-year-old boy and a man who was in the pickup with him. The University of the Southwest students, including one from Portugal and one from Mexico, and the coach were returning from a golf tournament. Two Canadian students were hospitalized in critical condition. (Read about the victims here.)

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