HOBBS, N.M. — When Dayton Price woke up, he was burning alive.
Flames engulfed the van carrying Price, seven teammates and his coach. There was no time to think. He smashed a window and dragged himself to the pavement before trying to get his friends out, as well. Only Price, 19, and Hayden Underhill, 20, were able to escape the inferno, and even then just barely. It wasn’t long before helicopters landed at the crash site and took them to hospitals some 100 miles away to save their lives.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Henrich Siemens, 38, and his 13-year-old son were in a white Ram 2500 truck southbound on Farm-to-Market Road 1788 deep in the West Texas plains when it crossed the center lane at 8:17 p.m. on March 15, 2022, colliding head-on with a van carrying eight members of the University of the Southwest golf team and its coach. The team was about 30 minutes into its 90-minute return ride to campus.
Nine of the 11 people involved died. The NTSB later ruled Siemens had methamphetamine in his system.
Victims included 26-year-old Tyler James, the golf coach who was driving the van, as well as golfers Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado; Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal; and Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas.
A final report has yet to be released. Why the truck crossed the centerline remains unknown. Price spent 86 days in the hospital before he went home. A year after the crash, he and Underhill, along with their former teammates not involved in the crash, families of those who died and the USW community are still coping with the pain and loss.
There are feelings of guilt and questions that can never be answered about a moment that changed their lives forever. At times, it’s almost too much to bear. But all know they have to move forward.
Each month, Price and Underhill join a Zoom call with the remaining members of the USW golf team and their former teammates’ family members. It’s a group therapy session. They laugh. They cry. They love.
“None of us…
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