13-year-old drove pickup in deadly Texas crash that critically injured 2 Canadian students


Two students from Ontario are recovering in hospital following a deadly crash between a pickup truck and a van carrying a college golf team in Texas.

Nine people were killed in the crash and the two Canadians who suffered critical injuries are now considered “stable.” Six members of the University of the Southwest men’s and women’s golf teams died, as did their coach.

A 13-year-old was driving the pickup, a National Transportation Safety Board official said Thursday. The child and a man traveling in the truck also died.

Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ont., and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview, Ont., were airlifted to University Medical Center in Lubbock, about 180 kilometres to the northeast of the crash site in Andrews County. 

“They are both stable and recovering and every day making more and more progress,” University of the Southwest provost Ryan Tipton said Thursday of the two injured students.

“One of the students is eating chicken soup,” said Tipton, calling their recovery “a game of inches.”

Price’s family released a press release on Friday sharing thoughts and prayers for the other families.

“We send our prayers and condolences to you and please know that we will continue to pray for you as you find the strength to heal. Dayton is absolutely devastated. Our prayers and thoughts are with Hayden and the Underhill family as he begins his recovery.”

The family also shared their gratitude for the tireless efforts of the first responders and medical team at University Medical Center.

“We are eternally grateful and wish to thank all the first responders and those who arrived on the scene to assist in ensuring that Dayton and Hayden were cared for. To the Doctors and medical team at UMC Health, we cannot begin to thank you for your incredible care of our son.

“We appreciate your prayers as Dayton starts his long road to recovery.”

Dayton Price posted this picture to his Instagram account in 2021 when he signed his letter of intent to play golf for the University of the Southwest. (Instagram/Dayton_Price_Golf)

The truck’s left front tire, which was a spare tire, also blew out before impact, said NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg.

Although it was unclear how fast the two vehicles were traveling, “this was clearly a high-speed collision,” Landsberg said. He added investigators hoped to retrieve enough information from the vehicle’s recorders to better understand what happened.

One must be 14 in Texas to start taking classroom courses for a learner’s license and 15 to receive that 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.

The pickup truck crossed into the opposite lane on a darkened, two-lane highway before colliding head-on with the van.

It’s not uncommon for people in rural parts of the U.S. to learn to drive when they’re young. But the news that a 13-year-old was behind the wheel in the Texas crash put a renewed focus on the practice.

Tipton said University president Quint Thurman personally visited the students’ parents at the hospital, illustrating the close community at the college that has only about 350 on-campus students. Underhill’s brother, Drew, said their parents, Ken and Wendy, flew to Texas on Wednesday.

The students were aboard the van on their way home from a golf tournament in Midland, Texas on Tuesday evening when the collision occurred.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Price’s father, Darren, to raise money for his medical expenses. As of Thursday at 6 p.m. ET the fund had raised more than $100,000 of the $200,000 goal.

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