A soft-drink bottle truck and a van carrying a Boys' Club softball team home from a tournament collided on a west Texas highway Friday, killing five youths and injuring 13 other people.
Fourteen boys and girls, most of them between the ages of 10 and 12, and three adults were traveling home from a softball tournament in Abilene when the accident occurred at 1:06 p.m. in an Interstate 20 construction zone east of SweetwaterThe Boys' Club van veered off the left side of the road, then back onto the highwway, where it was broad-sided by the soft-drink truck, Nolan County Sheriff Jim Blackley said.
Blackley said the bottle truck then pushed the van along the highway before both vehicles ran off the road, and the truck "ran up on top of the van and crushed it." Both vehicles were traveling west on Interstate 20.
Among the 13 injured were the drivers of the truck and van. At least four of the injured were listed in critical condition.
Several victims lay scattered on the roadway as rescuers worked to free those pinned in the van, Blackley said.
"They went to tearing the doors off of the van and had to extricate them any way they could - take them out the front, out the back, out the windows."
The van was carrying the Boys' Club group home from a softball tournament in Abilene, about 49 miles east of Sweetwater and 148 miles northeast of Midland, said Billie McNatt, education director of the Boys' Club in Midland.
"They had left Midland at 6:30 this morning, and they had been in a Boys' Club softball tournament all day and were on their way home," she said.