HOBBS, New Mexico — On March 15, 2022, tragedy struck the University of the Southwest golf team as they were traveling back home to Hobbs, New Mexico after competing in round one of the TankLogix tournament. Eight golf team members and the coach were in a van, and with about an hour left in their drive, they collided head-on with a pickup truck near Andrews County, resulting in a deadly crash.

“It’s been hard today to just think about what we were going through a year ago,” said Chelsi Stone, mother of USW golfer Laci Stone. “I don’t know if it’ll ever get easier.”

Henrich Siemens, 38, was driving a pickup truck. He crossed the center lane of Farm-to-Market Road 1788 and crashed head-on with USW’s team van on their way home from the Tanklogix tournament. 

“Our first phone call was somewhere around midnight, and it was just we can confirm that your daughter was on the bus,” said Haydan Stone, father of USW golfer Laci Stone.

That was a phone call that Laci’s parents received after the crash, but it was hours before they found out whether or not their daughter survived the accident.

“About 2:00 a.m. on March 16 is when we got confirmation that she along with several others had passed,” Chelsi Stone said. “It seems like from there, it was a blur. Obviously, we were upset and shocked. I think both of us hoped that we would get a call that they said, never mind, she’s here. We never did.”

Of the nine passengers in the team’s van, only two players made it out alive. Laci, five of her teammates and her coach did not. Through the devastation of losing Laci, Haydan believed it all happened for a reason.

“We truly believe that our daughter was where she was supposed to be,” Haydan Stone said. “She was happy, she was with a group of people that she loved to be with, and the outcome of her being gone now is well above our decision-making, and it was meant to be.”

There was a lot of confusion surrounding what happened that night, and the uncertainty remains. One thing authorities later announced was that Siemens had Methamphetamine in his system.

“We don’t want any other family to ever have to feel like we do,” Chelsi Stone said. “If we can change somebody’s mind about driving when they shouldn’t be, then we’re going to shout that as loud as we can.”

The rest of that tournament was canceled, and USW was declared honorary tournament champions.

In the 2023 edition of the TankLogix tournament, each team wore sweatshirts with the names of the crash victims as a way to carry them with them throughout the tournament. USW competed again this year.

“The reason why we play is to honor those and continue the legacy,” said USW first-year head golf coach RJ Lester.

Lester said four members of last year’s roster made the brave decision to come back to play for the team this season, even after the heartbreak of losing their Mustang teammates. 

“It will forever and always be part of our program,” Lester said. “We’re battling to overcome this; we’re going to overcome this. We’re always going to remember, but we’ll never forget.”

The USW fallen victims: 

  • Golf coach Tyler James, 26, of Hobbs, New Mexico 
  • Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico
  • Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas
  • Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado
  • Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas
  • Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas
  • Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal

Also killed:

  • Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole County, Texas
  • Ricky Siemens, 13, of Seminole County, Texas