Bus Smash


The impact crater.

The impact crater.

On October 5th at about 3:45AM on Interstate 87 the Death Cab for Cutie band bus was hit by a driver who lost control of her car (drunk? asleep? or?) hit the righthand lane guardrail and bounced back across two lanes of traffic and hit the passenger side of our bus. Despite the frightening noise that shook most of us awake, everyone on the bus is safe and fine with no injuries. The drivers of the other vehicles were not as lucky. After the first car hit us and we pulled over, four of us, Mark, Jason M., Jason Y. and I left our bus to run back to check on the car and to try and slow down traffic as to avoid a secondary collision. We weren’t successful. Even as Mark and Jason Y. were trying to slow drivers down with their flash lights, a Nissan Pathfinder who couldn’t stop in time collided with the first car. And just after that, a third car came screeching in and hit the Pathfinder at full highway speed. That was the scariest part of my night for sure. Hearing that loud POP that happens when metal and plastic meet at 60 miles an hour just resonates in your bones. You just KNOW something bad has happened. I couldn’t see Jason Y. and Mark because they had run ahead to slow down traffic but I was convinced that they may have been standing in the road trying to help the first driver when the third vehicle came crashing in. Thankfully, they were not or they would have been seriously injured or even killed.

After the third collision the chaos of everything set in. Shock set in a bit for me and everything slowed down. One car was now on fire. Another car was completely smashed. The Pathfinder had been totaled and moved thirty feet from the original accident site. Pieces of cars all over the road. Safety glass sparkling in the headlights. I see the woman driving the third car being pulled from her burning vehicle by another good samaritan as I run up. Is she alive? Yes, but hurt bad. She has compound fractures in both legs, I can see bones sticking out from both thighs and her face is crushed. Lots of blood. A man in Army fatigues tends to a woman laying on the shoulder of the road. More blood. He is yelling for a blanket. Someone get me a blanket. And a number of people are out of their cars now running around shouting for a fire extinguisher to put out the engine fire of the third car. We have to move. We have to get off of the highway. I can smell the burning car. I feel disconnected from my shoes. Finally, the flashing red and blues. Finally, some professional help. Finally, the chaos settles.

Thankfully, despite all the traumatic events and serious injuries no one died. As I sit here and reflect on the night, the thing that still sends chills up my spine, was how hushed quiet everything was. There was just this eerie silence hanging over everything and everyone throughout all of it. You could hear voices and moaning but that was all. It took me a long time afterwards to forget about that emptiness and find some sleep. 

This is a scary reality of traveling as frequently as we do, but it’s something we have to accept and just hope that the stars are aligned in our favor. I try not to think of the worst case scenarios but they are always there lurking in the dark corners of my mind. Thankfully, we have a great bus driver who kept his wits about him and was mindful of our safety and security. An event like this, while horrible, could have been so much worse if our driver had panicked or over corrected. 

If there is a positive in any of this, it’s that the universal countdown timer for these kinds of random moments has been reset. We should be good for a long while now.

Be safe out there.


~ by colonycollapse on October 5, 2008.

One Response to “Bus Smash”

  1. WOW – Close call – glad no one dead and the band is all ok – hope your Radio City show went well ..

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