Josh Turner’s Crew Tour Bus Involved in Fatal Crash
A tour bus carrying some of Josh Tuner's crew members crashed on Wednesday night (Sept. 18), following a concert in Paso Robles, Calif. One person, one of the singer's longtime sound crew members, is dead and multiple others are injured following the accident.
KSBY-TV reports that the crash occurred at about 11:45PM local time, on Highway 46 near McMillan Canyon Road in Shandon, Calif. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies, San Luis Obispo fire officials and California Highway Patrol officers, all of whom responded to the scene, say the tour bus drove off the road and through 20 yards of vegetation. The bus then went down an 80-foot cliff, hitting the sand of a dry riverbed below.
The tour bus that crashed was part of a caravan of buses, all related to Turner's trek, headed to Washington State. The front end of the bus sustained major damage, and a trailer that was being towed by the bus flipped on top of the bus.
Officials report that there were eight people, including the driver, on the bus at the time of the crash. Two of them -- sound engineer David Turner and production manager Richard Lazarus -- were ejected from the bus during the crash; first responders needed to use the jaws of life to extricate one victim, and set up a rope system to rescue the bus' passengers from the riverbed.
David Turner, 64 (and no relation to Josh Turner), has been identified as the deceased crew member; he had been working with the singer since early 2006. Of the seven passengers who were injured, two suffered major injuries and five suffered moderate injuries; Richard Lazarus' friend, Jerry Slone, tells WKRN-TV that Lazarus, 56, is in the ICU with a broken back, broken legs and a cracked chest bone. Six patients were taken to local hospitals, while another -- the driver, who has been identified as 39-year-old Bradley Dratnol and sustained serious leg injuries -- was airlifted to Cottage Hospital in Fresno, Calif.
According to first responders, neither Turner nor his band members were on the tour bus. Beyond David Turner, Lazarus and Dratnol, 26-year-old Carl Hardin, 26-year-old Justin Lambert, 59-year-old John Dauphniee and and 66-year-old James Mayo are being treated for "major to moderate" injuries, officials report, though the specifics are unknown. Fifty-nine-year-old Jed Downing sustained only minor injuries in the crash but is also being treated at a nearby hospital.
An eyewitness to the crash reports that the tour bus was traveling approximately 60-65 miles per hour at the time of the accident, in an area in which the speed limit is 55 miles per hour. Someone on a bus following the bus that crashed says they did not see brake lights go on when the bus that crashed left the road.
CHP officials are working to determine what caused the crash, but have ruled out drugs or alcohol as a cause. They are also exploring the possibility of mechanical issues, and will be impounding the vehicle. Charges will likely be filed because of the death and injuries.
Turner was scheduled to perform in Yakima, Wash., on Friday (Sept. 20). However, according to his rep, all remaining September shows will be rescheduled for a later date.
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