Family members and friends were devastated and brokenhearted as they grieved Wednesday’s release of more information about the fiery crash that claimed six lives and injured a coach at a New Mexico university. The incident occurred while they were returning from Texas for a tournament.
Chelsi Stone stated that she would not wish the pain she was experiencing on her worst enemy. Laci Stone, her 18-year old daughter, was one of those who died. She described the freshman as a shining light and shared the story of how the teen begged her for tiny matching hearts tattoos before she returned to the University of the Southwest.
Chelsi Stone posted on her Facebook page, “I’m forever grateful that God gave to me the courage and will always cherish this memory with her,” We will be grateful for every prayer you can offer and we love all of you.
Stone graduated from Nocona High School 2021. She played softball, golf, and volleyball. Her high school posted on social media that they would cancel Wednesday’s softball match. The announcement was made because the community was devastated by losing one of their own. Instead, hundreds of people gathered to pray on the field.
Other victims were Tyler James, a golf coach from Hobbs, junior Karisa Raines, Fort Stockston, Texas, Jackson Zinn, a junior form Westminster, Colorado, Travis Garcia, Pleasanton, Texas, Mauricio Sanchez, Mexico, and Tiago Sousa, Portugal.
Authorities identified the two students who were injured as Hayden Underhill of Amherstview (Ontario, Canada) and Dayton Price of Mississauga (Ontario, Canada).
The pickup truck driver who collided with the van was identified by authorities as Heinrich Siemens, 38, from Seminole (Texas). The truck’s driver, Heinrich Siemens, 38 from Seminole, Texas, also killed a 13-year old boy who was riding along in the truck. His name has not been released by police.
According to authorities, James was driving students back from New Mexico when the accident occurred. People who knew him stated that it was his dream to become a coach and that he was eager to do so.
Ryan Erwin, East Texas Baptist University’s vice president for student engagement, said that “that was his dream job, and he was living his dream.”
James received a master’s degree in kinesiology from ETBU in May. He was also the assistant coach to the golf program’s graduate students.
Erwin stated that James was passionate about coaching and mentoring students.
According to his biography at the University of the Southwest, he began his college career playing the game of golf at Ottawa University, Kansas. He then transferred to Howard Payne University, Brownwood, Texas.
Troy Drummond is Howard Payne University’s Head Golf Coach and Associate Athletic Director for Operations. He said that James was a three-year student at Howard Payne University and helped to coach the team his final year.
“He was passionate about golf. You could see it from the beginning. Drummond stated that he would eat, drink and sleep golf.
Drew Underhill is Hayden’s older brother. He said that his parents were flying to Texas in order to be with him. Hayden Underhill was on a scholarship for golf.
His brother stated that while hockey was an important part of his life, his true passion was golf. “He loves golf. Jordan Spieth is his favorite. He loves Jordan Spieth and has always been a fan of Jordan.
Friends of Raines was a biology student who started a fundraising page to support her family. She was described by them as “a beautiful, kind, and generous soul who will be greatly missed by all.”
Apart from the game of golf, the bond that binds teammates and their families is their faith. On Wednesday, social media was inundated with condolences and prayers from college golfers and other community members.
Local golfers established a memorial on the course where the team practices just a short distance from campus. Groundskeepers left flowers, golf balls, and a sign made by locals with the initials USW and a Christian cross.
We have a monument. “It’s the least we could do for the players, and of course coach James,” stated Ben Kirkes, Rockwind Community Links Manager. It’s hard.
Kirkes stated that he was close to the team members and saw them almost every day.
Kirkes stated, “These children were great kids and great community members.” “They were polite, and it was a pleasure to have them around.
He was aware that many of the children were from abroad and tried to make it a welcoming place for them.
Ben Kirkes stated, “Chasing a collegiate career in any sport is a great chance for kids overseas.” “We wanted them to feel at home.”