Rock Hard: The Aftermath

Continues from here.

“What’s up Dean? What’s wrong? What aren’t you telling the rest of them?” I asked when Dean sat down next to me on the bus after breaking the news that one of our tour trucks had been involved in an accident.

“As I just told everyone three out of six are in hospital, one of them is Adam.”

Of course news of the accident was shocking enough, on the road we were like a family, even the dysfunctional part of us, and no one wanted to hear news about anyone getting hurt but hearing that one of those hurt was Adam threw me completely.

“Is the okay?” It was a bit of a silly question, if he was ok they wouldn’t be taking him to hospital but I was on the verge of breaking down and I wasn’t really thinking that straight.

“They don’t know yet. All I got told was that three of them are being transported to hospital.”

“What happened?”

“A drunk driver crossed the highway and slammed head on into the cabin of the second truck. The three guys in the front seats copped the brunt of it.”

I know we had a bit of a drinking culture in the band, nearly all of us liked a drink or three especially after a gig, there was also a rather large drinking and drug culture among our fans. Neither was something we actively encouraged, we tried to keep our drinking, especially the bigger parties confined and out of the public eye. Drugs were the same, the few guys who did it had been warned to keep it private or leave the fold. So it’s also fair to assume we had a zero tolerance for drink drivers and that tolerance extended to our drivers, all drivers had to test free from alcohol before we hit the road. Hearing that one of our trucks was hit by a drunk driver was just the icing on a bad cake that proves you can do as many of the right things you want in this world but still fall prey to someone elses stupidity.

“What was sort of vehicle was the other person driving?” I asked Dean.

It might seem like a weird question to be asking at the time but with limited other information available it seemed logical. If the other vehicle was a truck the damage of two trucks colliding head on could have been quite horrific and if the other truck was bigger than our rental again the damage could have been horrific. If the vehicle was a car the damage to our truck might have been less but the potential to pin the legs of those in the cabin was higher. Because our father had spent many years driving trucks both Dean and I knew these things which was probably why he did not look as surprised at the question as someone else might have.

“It was a car. A Porsche apparently, it was one of the first questions I asked too.” Dean replied.

It didn’t really rest my mind but a little bit somewhere tried to connect the dots and suggest that a low car like a Porsche quite possible wouldn’t have pinned the occupants of the truck. I held on to that thought, I know amputation of limbs is far better than death but I still didn’t want any of our guys to go through that either.

Because the accident happened ninety minutes ahead of us we had a tense and nervous drive ahead of us. No one on the bus wanted loud music except Benji who decided he just wanted to be left alone with his head phones on. We were all in shock and shock is one of those things that everyone handles differently.

As I wallowed in a bit of self pity, forgive me for being self centered, Dean began talking to each person on the bus individually doing his best to answer their questions and make sure they were feeling okay. After about ten minutes I realised that what Dean was going through was no different to me, three of our guys were injured and being transported to hospital and one of those we’d both known since we were kids. I mentally slapped myself, reminded my brain that we were a band, a unit, and that Dean shouldn’t have to do everything himself. I got up from my seat and for the next sixty minutes Dean and I spoke to everyone on the bus. The lack of news was the biggest killer for us, Dean got several calls during the time but they held nothing more than snippets of information.

Just before we arrived at the scene of the accident Dean went up and spoke to the driver, telling him to stop at the accident scene before heading to the hospital in Waco, he then stood at the front of the bus and with the microphone from the sound system spoke to everyone.

“In a few minutes we’ll be stopping behind the accident. Anyone who wants to get out feel free, no judgement on anyone who doesn’t. We are stopping here to see if there is anything we can do and what happens from here. Once we have that many answers we’ll be heading on to the hospital in Waco. Needless to say tonight’s show is cancelled, as soon as any of us know more we’ll let you all know. While we still don’t know much about Adam, Sammy and Mark we know they are alive, from what I’ve been told the driver of the car was killed and the scene is fairly horrific so again no judgement on anyone who remains on the bus. I just ask that you please be patient and let us do what we need to do. We’ll be on our way as soon as possible.”

I might well be the front woman of the band but Dean was a hell of a lot better at ascending to the heights of leader than I was and his speech proved that.

When the bus pulled up everyone got out, I wasn’t surprised that they all wanted to help out where they could but when it came to seeing the front of the truck I noticed a few squeamish looks. I reminded myself to talk to everyone at a later stage and make sure they were all okay with things, it wasn’t an embarrassment to seek professional help, it was an embarrassment not to.

Dean wasn’t wrong about how bad the scene was, the car was a complete mess although a big reason for that was because the driver had to be cut out of the car. There was blood, used medical items, blood bags and all manner of things scattered in the Porsche, the paramedics had obviously worked hard to get him out alive. The engine of the truck had been pushed back, the front grill and headlights looked like they were part of the radiator and the windscreen was smashed but I can’t tell you how relieved I was that the truck had no blood in the cabin, it didn’t mean the occupants were ok but it had to be a better sign compared to what happened in the Porsche.

We spent less than thirty minutes on scene and once Dean and I had spoken to the police, then spoken with our tour manger Bob we’d managed to work out enough that leaving the scene and heading to the hospital wasn’t an issue.

The truck was of course undriveable and would need to be towed, the gear in the back appeared to be unscathed but we wouldn’t know fully until we got to Dallas and tested it. Through some swift talking and shrewd dealing Bob was able to get the truck towed to Dallas where our crew could meet it and transfer all the gear into another truck of the same size from the same rental company. He was also lucky enough to get our gig moved to the following night, it would inconvenience some fans but a late show is better than none at all. We just hoped we could do it.

I thought the trip between Austin and the accident was tense but it had nothing on the trip between the accident and the hospital, I swear I was wound so tight that if I had let go I’d have taken out the entire bus. We still had no news on how the three of them were doing, part of the problem was that none of crew that were ok went with the paramedics so instead of dealing with one of our own on site we had to deal directly with the hospital and they were not very forthcoming with information over the phone.

When we finally arrived at the hospital it must have looked a sight, one large tour bus and a large truck with Magnhild painted on the side taking up two rows of the car park and twenty plus people all piling out and heading for the front doors, but of course we didn’t care.

I nearly ran in through the automatic doors screaming “where is he?” but I managed to contain myself. I even contained myself when the lady behind the computer asked “Are you family?” when I inquired about the three injured men, but only just, that was when Bob took over. Bob taking over was probably for the best I was so desperate to see Adam and make sure he was alright that I wasn’t think straight. I stepped back and tried to wait patiently.

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