That crash in west Texas that killed 9 - the spare blew out. How did they know?

A pickup veered into the oncoming lane in west Texas, collided with a van carrying the golf team of a small college in Hobbs, NM, killing 9 people. The report today said a tire blew out and that it was a spare tire. Since the 2 people in the pickup died they had to figure that out from physical evidence. The only evidence I can think of would be a doughnut spare. Can you guys think of something else?

Investigators stated there were witness marks on the pavement before the collision to indicate a deflated tire.

The truck was a Dodge Ram 2500, this would not be equipped with a compact spare tire.

“Landsberg said in it’s unclear why the full-sized spare blew out before the crash.”

Spare tires are generally found to be underinflated; most people do not maintain the spare tire.


From the picture of the truck it looked like it had the mag type wheels on it. So the spare likely would have been standard size maybe on steel wheel. Don’t think they would have used a fancy wheel for the spare.

Front tire blow out at sounded like high speed. Still not sure how you would lose control that bad. Never blew a front tire out but did have a tie rod break at highway speed and still had no trouble pulling over (with some screeching of the flopping tire).

Thing is you always have to be ready for anything I guess like a bouncing tire. I have said before though that I don’t like church vans where so many people are in one vehicle. Yeah sure more cars, more odds of one having a problem, but the odds of two at the same time are nill. Shame though but still I’m quite sure I could have handled driving at 13-maybe not high speed though.


A spare probably has a very plain steel rim and lots of vehicles have very different rims on the 4 regular tires. Sometimes the spare is a different size tire too.

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Yeah see above and the picture of the pick up if you can find it. Mags on the truck.

What’s more is a 13 year old was driving the truck! Poor victims.


I have a Dodge Ram 2500, 4x4, and it came with Michelin LTS 265/75 R16 tires on alloy wheels. The spare was the same Michelin LTS 265/75 R16 but it was installed on a steel rim. And I check the pressure in all 5 tires (spare included…).

However, I had written about my truck tires previously and here is my story and I’m sticking to it…

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That is my theory, also.

The most likely explanation is…

An underage, unlicensed, untrained driver–driving at high speed with a (probably) under-inflated tire–is a pretty sure formula for disaster.


A 13 year old driving on a spare tire of unknown age at 75 mph. It’s not surprising the boy lost control and it’s a shame he took so many innocent college kids and coaches with him.


This is a surprise. I go > 10 years between using my spare, and it’s mounted underneath the bed. No way I’m going to fill it up regularly. So I expect it to be underinflated. I carry a foot pump and fill it up. I’d have thought that everyone would.

I assumed that pickups had real spares. I don’t see the point of fancy wheels so didn’t think about it.

A blow-out? Part of his 13-year-old-ness was that he wouldn’t have checked the inflation of the spare. I suspect his father is responsible for this accident.

I can tell you that here in NJ a two lane road without a barrier between the opposing directions would be posted for 40-45 mph.

I understand the kid managed to burn down their house a year before by leaving eggs on the stove unattended. 5 kids in the family so maybe dad was tired. Also don’t know what the make up of the family but the kid could have been expected help out quite a bit and maybe no time for video games. I think they said he was Mennonite or something.

As a broke young man I had several blowouts while driving on worn out tires at high speeds and I can tell you that a rear blowout is much more dangerous than a front one unless you are dumb enough to slam on the brakes.

And, the father is also dead–assuming that the deceased adult in the truck was the father.
If he had survived, he could have been prosecuted for allowing the kid to drive, but fate had other plans for him.

I wonder if the father felt he was too drunk to drive so had the kid drive him home.

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Think news said van had travelled 300 miles to golf event. And met a truck at exact point of road. Life is measured in feet sometimes.

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It was the golf team of University of the Southwest, a Christian college in Hobbs, NM.

A lot of just guessing here but the paper had an unusual comment. After the house burned down, the mother said “I miss my son”. Sounded like maybe the kid had been sent somewhere else. Don’t know where they were coming from or going to. Speed limit there was 75 anyway.

Latest news still has not yet identified the adult as the kid’s father. The authorities said the “Left Front Tire” was a spare on a steel rim that had blown and in the videos, I’ve only seen the passenger’s Right Front Wheel which is not the normal steel rim of a spare, but perhaps an alloy wheel.

I read that the adult was on his way to pick up another vehicle so perhaps; he was “teaching” the kid how to drive so there was someone who could drive the truck back as he drove the other vehicle.

I lived in West Texas, outside San Angelo, and lots of young, underage kids were driving since they had in many cases helped around the homestead/farm/ranch. Not necessarily, their parent’s but help out with properties that belonged to grandparents or other relative’s property (cousin, Uncle, Aunt, etc…).

In Mertzon, TX, back in '96, my motorcycle club almost lost a couple of cycles when a kid driving a pickup truck had trouble stopping his truck using a stick to reach the gas/brake pedal (No Lie…). He said his mother sent him to the Shell Food Mart to get milk and diapers. The Guy behind the counter at the Food Mart knew the kid and put the items on their tab. So I guess this sort of thing was pretty common then and apparently, still so today…

Authorities investigating a fiery head-on crash in West Texas don’t know why a 13-year-old boy was driving while his father sat in the passenger seat of a pickup truck that crossed into the oncoming lane and collided with a passenger van, killing nine people.