by: James Clark
LUBBOCK Texas — A crash report from the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed many of the same details previously released by the National Transportation Safety Board concerning a deadly crash near Andrews. Nine people lost their lives in the crash when a pickup truck collided head-on with a transit van on the night of March 15.
The DPS crash report is far less certain as to the identity of the pickup truck driver.
“A 13-year-old child was behind the wheel of the pickup truck,” Bruce Landsberg, Vice Chairman of NTSB, said at a press conference on March 17.
But the DPS report, which was available for the first time on Thursday (April 14) listed the driver and passenger both as “Siemens, Unknown.”
“DNA analysis is pending for the identification of unit 3 [pickup truck] driver,” the DPS crash report said. “Occupants of unit 3 are known to be father and son.”
The DPS report did match up with previous NTSB statements on the cause of the crash.
Landsberg also said, “It appears at this point in the investigation that the left front tire, which was a spare tire, had failed, which resulted in the vehicle pulling hard to the left and crossing into the opposing lane.”
The DPS report said, “The left front tire of unit 3 deflated, causing unit 3 to fail to drive in a single lane and enter into the northbound lane.”
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The DPS crash summary released the day after the crash also did not identify the driver of the pickup truck. Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole along with a “Minor – name not released at this time, male, 13 years of age, of Seminole” were both listed as occupants. Both lost their lives.
A DPS spokesman based in Midland said investigators were still waiting for DNA results as of Thursday and the DPS position “had not changed” concerning the identity of the driver. The timeline of getting results was not known. The DPS said it could be weeks or even months.
Two crash victims from the transit van survived and were airlifted to Lubbock hospitals for treatment. As of Thursday, social media posts indicated both were still in Lubbock for recovery.
Six students from the University of the Southwest, along with the team’s head coach, Tyler James, 26, died. The students were identified as: Maurico Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado; Karissa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.
The DPS report also provided a diagram of how the vehicles crashed and how they came to rest at the crash scene. The NTSB probable cause report was not available as of Thursday.