Remembering Jackson Zinn: Golfer, 22, killed in Texas car crash caused by truck driven by 13-yr-old

A 13-year-old was driving a pickup vehicle that collided with the van transporting Zinn and other members of the golf team


                            Remembering Jackson Zinn: Golfer, 22, killed in Texas car crash caused by truck driven by 13-yr-old
Jackson Zinn, 22, aspired to play on the PGA Tour (Image/The University of the Southwest Athletics)
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Jackson Zinn, 22, was one of the nine people killed in a tragic accident in West Texas on Tuesday, March 15. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Ricky Siemens, a 13-year-old boy, was illegally driving his 2007 Dodge 2500 alongside his dad, Heinrich Siemens, when the spare tire blew out, sending the vehicle careening onto the opposite side of a two-lane highway. It crashed head-on with a Ford Transit van carrying golfers from the University of the Southwest, six of whom, including Jackson, died alongside their coach.

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The other victims have been identified as 19-year-old Mauricio Sanchez, 19-year-old Travis Garcia, 21-year-old Karisa Raines, 18-year-old Laci Stone, 18-year-old Tiago Sousa and their coach, 26-year-old Tyler James. Ricky and his father Heinrich were also killed in the collision. Students Dayton Price, 19, and Hayden Underhill, 20, were hospitalized.

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Who was Jackson Zinn?

Hailing from Colorado, Jackson aspired to play on the PGA Tour. The 22-year-old's family described him as a gifted golfer who was kind and inclusive at the same time. His parents - Jen and Greg Zinn - said that he needed a strong work ethic to achieve that goal of evolving into a successful golfer. In a house full of extended family and friends, his parents huddled around with their two girls and exchanged memories of Jackson. A table in the Zinns family room had photos of Jackson having a charming dimpled smile. 

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Jackson's parents never expected to require the type of comfort their family sofa provided, it made them remember their lost son. “He was an amazing young man, and I know I’ll see him again, but dang it, I wish I had him here for a little longer," Greg Zinn told 9News.com. “I’ll miss the stuff that we aren’t going to get to do," he further added. "That’s the hard part.”

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Jackson's mother Jen affectionately described him as a "mama's boy," but he was also his dad's best golfing buddy. “He just knew how to draw the best out of people," she said, grasping her daughters' hands. “I think his appeal is that he related to everybody and reached everybody."

"We are so much more the richer having [Jackson] in our life, and I wouldn’t change it," the father said.

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The six USW student athletes killed in a crash were identified as (top row, left to right) Laci Stone, Jackson Zinn, Karisa Raines, (bottom row, left to right) Mauricio Sanchez, Travis Garcia and Tiago Sousa. (University of the Southwest)

A memorial service for Jackson will be held on March 26 at Grace Church in Arvada. Family and friends of the Zinn family have started a fundraiser for Jackson on GoFundMe. The page asked people to donate some money for the memorial and explained how Jackson believed in giving back and serving others as an important part of their lives. They intend to pay tribute to Jackson by introducing his passion for sports to others who would not otherwise have access to it. "Jackson discovered serenity, companionship, and a sense of spirituality. We're returning the Jackson spirit to the globe by assisting others in doing the same," the page reads.

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Any Given Tuesday has also created a GoFundMe fundraiser for all the victims of the accident involving the USW golf teams. For information on the fundraiser for the University of the Southwest Golf Program organized by AGT click here. "All funds will be given to the families of the victims. This is an opportunity for all who care and work in the college golf world to support a program in need!” the page states.

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