Traveler Blues: 24 Accidents Involving Musicians, Crews
There is a long – and, sadly, growing – list of accidents involving buses and other vehicles transporting musicians and crews from one venue to another.
While most resulted in no or only minor injuries, some caused broken bones – and a few were fatal. Here is a look at some of the most harrowing and tragic moments on tour.
Metallica – September 1986
Metallica bassist Cliff Burton was thrown from his bunk and crushed when the driver of the band’s tour bus lost control on a road in Sweden on Sept. 27, 1986. No one else was seriously injured in the crash.
Gloria Estefan – March 1990
Gloria Estefan suffered a fractured spine on March 20, 1990 when her tour bus was slammed by a truck on a highway near Scranton, Pennsylvania. Her husband Emilio and their then-nine-year-old son Nayib were also on the bus but escaped serious injuries. Her 1991 hit “Coming Out of the Dark” was inspired by the accident.
Emilio Navaira – March 2008
Tejeno musician Emilio Navaira was rushed to hospital in critical condition after his tour bus crashed into barrels on a highway outside Houston, Texas on March 23, 2008. Police said Navaira was behind the wheel at the time of the crash, despite being inebriated and not licensed to drive a bus.
Bret Michaels – July 2009 & June 2013
Bret Michaels was not injured when his tour bus was hit by a car on an Ontario highway, causing a five-vehicle pile-up, on July 4, 2009. Four years later, Michaels suffered minor injuries when his tour bus hit deer on a road between Abilene, Texas and Biloxi, Mississippi.
Miley Cyrus – November 2009
A tour bus carrying Miley Cyrus’ crew went off the road in Virginia on Nov. 20, 2009. The driver was killed and nine people on the bus suffered minor injuries. The singer was not on the bus.
Weezer – December 2009
After performing in Toronto, Weezer was traveling to Boston on Dec. 6, 2009 when a tour bus carrying singer Rivers Cuomo, his wife and daughter, their nanny and an assistant crashed on a New York state highway. Cuomo suffered three cracked ribs and minor internal injuries; the assistant suffered fractured ribs and fractured lower vertebrae.
Trace Adkins - February 2010
Five members of Trace Adkins’ band and crew suffered minor injuries when their tour bus collided head-on with a pick-up truck near Shreveport, Louisiana. Two people in the pick-up were killed.
Miranda Cosgrove – August 2011
Miranda Cosgrove was traveling to Kansas with her mother and several other people on a tour bus when it slammed into a truck on Aug. 12, 2011. The driver was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries.
Baroness - August 2012
A bus carrying alt-metal band Baroness plunged about 30 feet down an embankment and slammed into the ground on Aug. 15, 2012 in Bath, England, reportedly due to brake failure. Frontman John Baizley suffered a broken arm and leg while two bandmates suffered fractured vertebrae.
Marcus Miller - November 2012
Grammy-winning jazz artist Marcus Miller was injured on Nov. 25, 2012 when his tour bus crashed near Schattdorf, Switzerland. Miller and members of his band suffered minor injuries but the driver was killed.
Willie Nelson – November 2013
A tour bus carrying Willie Nelson’s band crashed into a bridge pillar on a highway outside Sulphur Springs, Texas on Nov. 23, 2013. Three people were hospitalized with broken bones. The country singer was not on the bus.
Hillary Scott – April 2015
The Lady A singer was on a tour bus heading for Dallas with her husband and tour manager when one of its tires caught fire on April 16, 2015. Everyone on the bus escaped without injuries.
Gary LeVox - January 2018
The Rascal Flatts singer was using his tour bus to go on a hunting trip in Louisiana with his brother Kevin on Jan. 6, 2018 when it caught fire. No one was injured.
Portugal. The Man - February 2018
A tour bus for Portugal. The Man burst into flames outside a concert venue in Iowa on Feb. 13, 2018. No one was injured.
Brantley Gilbert - March 2018
Country singer Brantley Gilbert was forced to evacuate when his tour bus caught fire around March 12, 2018. No one was hurt.
Gary Numan - September 2018
The “Cars” singer’s tour bus struck and killed a 91-year-old man in Cleveland on Sept. 24, 2018. Numan cancelled a show that night out of respect for the victim.
Her's - March 2019
Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading of the UK duo Her's and their tour manager Trevor Engelbrektson were killed on March 27, 2019 when their vehicle was struck by a pick-up truck that was traveling in the wrong direction on a highway in Arizona.
Josh Turner - September 2019
A tour bus carrying members of country singer Josh Turner’s crew went off a highway near Shandon, California and slammed into a riverbed on Sept. 18, 2019. One of two people ejected from the bus died.
Crazy Town - October 2019
A van carrying the members of Crazy Town from Thunder Bay to Sudbury, Ont. struck a moose on Oct. 31, 2019. Singer Seth Binzer, guitarist Elias Tannous and drummer Roland Banks were taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries. The moose died at the scene.
Neal McCoy - February 2020
Country singer Neal McCoy's tour bus was destroyed by fire on Feb. 8, 2020 on a highway near Mansfield, Louisiana. The singer and everyone else on board the bus escaped without injuries.
Blues Traveler - August 2021
Singer John Popper was taken to hospital by ambulance but escaped serious injury after his tour bus crashed on its way to a concert in Minneosta on Aug. 19, 2021. “This morning our tour bus went off the road and crossed the median. Thankfully we are all safe and have only sustained minor injuries,” read a statement from the band. “Our sincere gratitude to the Winona MN, Police Department and Rescue Crew for their help getting us safely off the highway and out of oncoming traffic."
The Offspring - August 2022
Members of rock band The Offspring's crew escaped without injuries after the SUV taking them to a concert in Rimouski, Quebec burst into flames. "No one is sure what started the fire yet, but the SUV hit something big & heavy, possibly a lost trailer hitch, and within seconds the vehicle was in flames,” guitarist Kevin ‘Noodles’ Wasserman wrote in an Instagram post. “No time to save any belongings. Scary s**t!”
John Michael Montgomery - September 2022
The 57-year-old country star said he suffered “some cuts and broken ribs” in a “serious accident” on a Tennessee highway as his tour bus was heading to North Carolina. Two others were injured when the bus went off the road, hit an embankment and flipped on its side. “I am grateful to the medics and highway patrol for their quick response to this difficult situation,” he wrote.
Hardy - October 2022
The country singer-songwriter’s tour bus went off the road in the early morning hours of Oct. 2 and overturned while heading to Nashville following a music festival in Bristol, Tennessee. In a message he shared on Instagram, Hardy said he and three others suffered “significant injuries” in the crash.