The crash happened around 8:17 p.m. Tuesday just outside Andrews, Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
“A Dodge 2500 pickup was traveling southbound on FM 1788. A Ford Transit passenger van registered to the University of the Southwest in Hobbs, NM was traveling northbound on FM 1788,” the DPS said in a statement. An earlier notice from the agency misidentified the pickup as a Ford F-150.
“For unknown reasons, the Dodge pickup drove into the northbound lane and struck the Ford passenger van head on,” DPS Sgt. Steven Blanco said. “Both vehicles caught fire and burned.”
Six students and one faculty member aboard the university van were killed, the DPS said. The driver and a passenger in the pickup truck also died.
“The USW campus community is shocked and saddened today as we mourn the loss of members of our university family,” read a statement from the university based in Hobbs, New Mexico.
“Nine passengers, including the coach, were on the university bus involved in the fatal accident. While the accident investigation is still underway, reports indicate that seven passengers aboard the bus were killed in the crash,” the statement said.
“Two of the passengers are in critical condition undergoing medical treatment in Lubbock, Texas.”
Members of the men’s and women’s golf teams were traveling back to their New Mexico campus from a competition when their bus was struck by oncoming traffic, USW said.
The weather in the area Tuesday evening was clear with no fog, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. There were no freezing temperatures, and the wind was light at around 5 to 8 mph.
State officials, with assistance from the National Transportation Safety Board, are investigating the crash.