STUART, Florida — The bassist for a Florida Indie rock band and a wrong-way driver died in a chain-reaction crash that left the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 closed for hours near Stuart on Wednesday.
The band Ghost Cat had just finished playing a gig at The Speakeasy Lounge in Lake Worth and was heading north on I-95 when the crash happened about 1:47 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. FHP said Bryan Jackson, 26, and wrong-way driver, Troy Van Snook, 31, died in the crash.
Drummer Karsten Andersen, 27, was driving the Ford Explorer. Band members said he was seriously injured and underwent surgery on Wednesday night.
The highway patrol says the SUV smashed head-on into the pickup truck driven by Snook, which was heading south in the interstate’s northbound lanes.
Guitarist Shane O’Brien was sitting in the front passenger seat and said he didn’t know the truck was heading directly at them until just before the collision. “From a distance, it looked like just another car headed south,” he told The Palm Beach Post (http://bit.ly/1dRX15o ).
He managed to kick out the window and climb out of the SUV, sustaining minor injuries. Moments later, a tractor trailer hit the wreckage, ejecting Jackson from the back seat. A minivan also hit the wreckage. No one else was injured, the FHP said.
“It’s hard to believe seeing your best friend lying on the side of the road. It was completely terrifying. I felt helpless,” he said. The band’s equipment was strewn across the interstate.
A minivan also hit the wreckage, but that driver wasn’t injured, the FHP said.
Investigators want to know whether Snook had been drinking before the crash.
Court records show Snook was arrested Oct. 8, 2007, on DUI charges and was found guilty a year later, the newspaper reported. Snook’s parents declined comment.
A fourth member of the band, guitarist John Henderson, was traveling separately and didn’t learn about crash until later Wednesday.
Fans left notes of condolences on the band’s Facebook page on Wednesday.
O’Brien said the band had recently returned from a recording session in Georgia, where it cut its first album, “Weathered Light.” He said Jackson had been excited about the album and was anxious waiting to receive a copy.
“Now he’ll never be able to hear what we recorded,” he said.
Information from: The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, http://www.pbpost.com