DNA Tests Show 13-year-old Not Behind Wheel in Fatal Texas Crash

By David Shepardson

July 14 (Reuters) – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Thursday that DNA testing results found the driver of a pickup truck involved in a fatal March crash that killed nine in Texas was not a 13-year-old but his father, according to the preliminary report.

In March, the NTSB reported a 13-year-old was driving the pickup truck that collided with a van in Texas, killing nine people, including six members of a New Mexico college’s men’s and women’s golf team and a coach along with both people in the pickup. The fiery, head-on collision in West Texas also resulted in two students being seriously injured.

The NTSB cited DNA testing results provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety to determine the driver. NTSB post-crash toxicological testing revealed the presence of methamphetamine in the 38-year-old pickup truck driver’s blood.

A 2007 Dodge 2500 pickup struck a 2017 Transit towing an eight-foot cargo trailer and carrying the coach and eight team members of the University of Southwest College golf team.

USW, a private Christian university in Hobbs, New Mexico, had said its van was carrying nine people, seven of whom died.

The NTSB said Thursday “to date, the investigation has not found evidence of a sudden or rapid loss of tire air pressure or any other indicators of catastrophic failure of the pickup truck’s front left tire.”

The NTSB had said in March it appeared in the high-speed crash “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.” (Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Chris Reese)

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