Baroness bus crash victim relives terror
Baroness guitarist John Baizley has relived the moments of terror when the band’s tour bus left the road and plummeted off a viaduct in torrential rain.
The US band were part-way through a tour of England in August when the accident took place.
Baizley was thrown through the bus windscreen, breaking an arm and a leg, and will remain in a wheelchair for weeks to come. He was the last member of the band to leave hospital and return home.
He says: “Our bus went entirely out of control. The brakes failed completely. We had no choice other than hitting a guardrail going about 50mph. We went fully airborne and fell more than 30 feet.
“I was up front with the driver. I remember the sound of the air brakes failing and the driver’s cursing as we realised how desperate the situation was.
“While we were airborne my eyes met with our driver’s. We shared the same look on our faces and I won’t soon forget it – we had spent enough time in the air to appreciate, make peace with and accept a fate we thought inevitable. We looked at one another with a horribly silent goodbye in our eyes.”
Baizley remembers bring thrown “like a missile” into the windscreen, which bounced against him and broke away, forcing his body back into the bus.
He continues: “My left leg was very obviously and badly broken. My right arm was covered in burns, blood and glass but was working well enough. My left arm was crushed beyond belief.”
Recovering from the moment of impact he became aware of sounds of pain and fear from the eight other occupants of the vehicle – but his reaction was different. “I was overcome with joy,” he says. “I was ecstatic to be back amidst all that chaos, because it was alive and real.
“I finally glimpsed the relative importance of all things. The support of our fans, friends and families has real meaning to me now. I say honestly, without false humility: thank you, everyone.”
Baizley’s limbs were reconstructed with the help of titanium plates and steel wire. He’s continuing with physiotherapy and aims to make a full recovery.
He says: “I picked up a guitar and played the day after I returned home. Not without pain for the time being, but the hand still acts out the creative impulse I give it.”
Bandmates Allen Blickle and Matt Maggioni suffered fractured vertebrae in the crash while Pete Adams escaped with minor injuries. Baroness will continue their career once they’ve recovered. “It isn’t going to happen next week or next month,” Baizley predicts. “But it will happen. I feel more resolute and passionate about our music than ever.”