NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The parents of a University of the Southwest student who died in a fiery crash while traveling back from a golf tournament have filed a lawsuit. It’s against the school for wrongful death.
It’s been a little over a year since the tragic incident left nine people dead, including seven of the Hobbs-based university’s golf team.
On March 15, 2022, eight University of the Southwest students and their coach, Tyler James, were traveling back from a golf tournament in Texas when an oncoming Dodge truck on a two-lane road near Andrew, Texas, veered into the golf team’s passenger van after blowing a tire.
Both passengers in the pickup, a 13-year-old and 38-year-old Heinrich Siemens, along with seven passengers in the university transport van died as a result of the crash.
Now, the family of one of the deceased students, Mauricio Sanchez-Lopez, is saying the University was negligent in its actions and that the university should be held accountable for its negligent policies.
“The university made policies and procedures with respect to how their sports teams would travel and when they would stay overnight and when they wouldn’t,” said Attorney James Hada, who’s representing the family.
James Hada said the university’s policy should have required the team to stay overnight in a hotel and not travel late. In addition to those claims, the lawsuit alleged, the university also failed by leaving the school’s coach in charge.
“They did not properly screen the driver, the coach, they did not properly train him. They did not properly qualify him. They did not keep his hours of service. They did nothing that an entity that has a commercial motor vehicle in this country should comply with,” said Hada.
Hada said the family’s hope is to enforce policy changes within the university and ensure similar incidents won’t happen in the future. KRQE reached out to representatives for the University of the Southwest, who said they are waiting to comment on the pending litigation.