Federal investigators are walking back their assertion that a 13-year-old child was driving the pickup truck in a March collision that killed nine people, including members of a university’s golf teams.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report released Thursday that DNA testing performed by the Texas Department of Public Safety indicates the child’s 38-year-old father was behind the pickup’s wheel.
Testing also “revealed the presence of methamphetamine in the pickup truck driver’s blood,” the NTSB said in the report.
The fiery crash took place outside Andrews, Texas, when a Dodge 2500 pickup truck traveling southbound drove into the northbound lane and crashed into a Ford Transit passenger van.
“Both vehicles caught on fire and were destroyed,” the report said.
The van was carrying members of the University of the Southwest’s men’s and women’s golf teams. Six student athletes and their coach died in the crash. The driver and passenger in the pickup truck also died.
The two surviving students in the van “were seriously injured,” according to the report.
Shortly after the March crash, NTSB officials said that the 13-year-old was behind the wheel of the pickup.
Investigators were able to identify the remains of the driver by his size, NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said at that time.
The agency also said it believed the left front tire of the pickup was a spare the failed, causing the truck to veer into oncoming traffic.
The NTSB said Thursday it 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.”
Members of the men’s and women’s golf teams were traveling back to their New Mexico campus from a tournament, USW said.