LUBBOCK, Texas — Documents from the National Transportation Safety Board made public on Thursday afternoon revealed new details about a crash in Andrews County that took the lives of 9 people on March 15, 2022.
The tragic crash involved a pickup truck occupied by a father and son, and a passenger van with a golf team and a head coach from the University of the Southwest. Six team members and their head coach were killed, along with the father and son. Two crash victims from the van survived and were airlifted to Lubbock hospitals.
Investigators with the NTSB interviewed the wife of 38-year-old Henrich Siemens days after the crash. In the interview, Siemens’s wife said the last time she spoke to her husband was 20 minutes before the accident. The NTSB investigator told her there were “some media reports that maybe [her 13-year-old son] was driving.” Those reports, however, came from the NTSB itself.
As the world watched in the days following the collision, Vice Chairman of the NTSB, Bruce Landsberg, said at a press conference that a “13-year-old child was behind the wheel of the pickup truck.” However, the Texas Department of Public Safety was less certain about the identity of the pickup truck driver. The DPS report, which became available on April 14, listed the driver and passenger of the truck both as “Siemens, Unknown.” A report from the NTSB later identified Henrich as the driver and stated that he had meth in his system.
The NTSB also interviewed surviving victim, Dayton Price, who said he had to break the van’s window to escape the flames. Price told investigators that he wrapped his shirt around his hand and tried to break the window with this fist and feet. Once outside the burning van, bystanders pulled Price away from the fire, according to the NTSB. Price told investigators that he did not recall anyone wearing a seatbelt other than the van’s driver, head coach Tyler James, 26.
The NTSB stated that the cause of death for James, Siemens and his son were “blunt force and thermal injuries.”
Violation history for both drivers was also revealed. According to the NTSB, Siemens had a total of 29 traffic violations, including 13 related to driving without a license, 11 for speeding, and one DWI conviction. The NTSB stated his license was valid when the crash occurred.
The NTSB stated that James, who was driving the USW van, only had one traffic violation that was no longer listed since he completed a safe driving course. According to the NTSB, James was required to be medically certified to drive the commercial vehicle, but did not have the certification.
A witness of the crash who was driving behind the USW van told the NTSB that he did not notice anything unusual. The witness said he did not see the van break or steer away from the truck, and only knew a crash happened because he saw a large “fireball.”