ANDREWS and LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech University said Jones AT&T Stadium will be lit in blue and red Wednesday night to honor the lives lost in an Andrews County crash. The University of the Southwest (USW) men’s and women’s golf teams were headed back to Hobbs Tuesday evening after a competition in Midland.

Reaction and support came in Wednesday from all over Texas.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said six students and one faculty member died in a passenger van. Two more died in a pickup truck when the two vehicles collided head-on along Farm to Market Road 1788 north of State Highway 115, DPS said. USW said two students survived and were taken to Lubbock in critical condition for medical treatment.

USW said, “The USW campus community is shocked and saddened today as we mourn the loss of members of our university family.” USW provided a link to a fundraiser for the victims’ families.

“We grieve with the loved ones of the individuals whose lives were horrifically taken too soon in this fatal vehicle crash near Andrews last night,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Wednesday morning.

“Please join Jan and me in prayer for the all of the victims,” Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said. “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and the entire University of the Southwest community during this difficult time.”

“I am deeply saddened by news of a fatal crash involving students and staff from the University of the Southwest in Hobbs. This is a terrible, tragic accident. As we await additional information from authorities, my prayers are with the community and the loved ones of all those involved,” New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement released on Facebook.

Robert Giovannetti, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Texas Tech University said, “You send your kid off to college, in this case to play golf, and you just never dream of something like this happening. It’s tragic. It’s tragic beyond words.”

“Most small colleges run in small areas and so it affects not only the team, not only the student body, but the town,” said Joe Tubb, retired Director of Athletics for South Plains College. “I know that they’re hurting in that town. They’re hurting in the school… It’s just a bad thing.”

“We can be sure that each individual had a unique impact on the world around them, and their loss will be felt by family, friends, classmates, professors and the numerous lives they touched,” Wayland Baptist University said. “We are praying that through this tragedy, those affected will feel the love and peace provided by Christ, and that they will have the support they need to get through these difficult times.”

Baylor University posted a message on the USW Facebook page, saying, “Praying this morning from Waco for all those affected by this accident — families, friends, classmates and loved ones.”

“We extend our condolences to the USW family,” Midland College President Dr. Steve Thomas said. “This is a devastating loss to that school, and words cannot express how deeply hurt we feel for their loss. I have ordered the MC flag to fly at half-staff through Friday to honor the memories of Coach Tyler James and his team.”

A woman who described herself as a mom of one of the crash victims, Laci Stone, wrote on Facebook, “She has been an absolute ray of sunshine during this short time on earth.”

Texomashomepage.com was able to confirm Stone’s identity via a statement from the Nacona ISD, which said, “Right now our community is heartbroken over the tragic loss of one of our own. Please keep the family of Laci Stone in your prayers!”

“We will never be the same after this and we just don’t understand how this happened to our amazing, beautiful, smart, joyful girl,” Stone’s mom wrote.

“She begged me to get a matching tattoo with her. I almost chickened out because I’m a baby, but I went through with it,” the mom continued. “I’m so forever grateful that God gave me the courage to go through with it and always have this memory with her.”

The following is press release from the Office of Governor:

Governor Abbott Statement On Fatal Vehicle Crash Near Andrews, Texas

March 16, 2022 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a statement on the fatal vehicle crash near Andrews in West Texas that killed nine people and critically injured two others last night. Among the victims were members and a coach of the University of the Southwest men’s and women’s golf teams who were visiting Texas from New Mexico for a tournament.

“We grieve with the loved ones of the individuals whose lives were horrifically taken too soon in this fatal vehicle crash near Andrews last night,” said Governor Abbott. “The Texas Department of Public Safety is working closely with local officials to investigate this accident, and we offer our full support to the University of the Southwest and the state of New Mexico. I ask Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for the families of those whose lives were lost and for the recovery of two critically injured students.”

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