Blackberry Smoke Bassist and Crew Members Rescue Victims From Car Fire
Country band Blackberry Smoke’s bassist and a couple of crew members went above and beyond the call of duty while heading home to Atlanta from a show in California when they happened upon a car fire on I-10 in El Paso, Texas April 19.
Bassist Richard Turner, bus driver Harry Wing and lighting director Chris “Thumper” Hathaway noticed the car, upside-down and ablaze, at about 2AM and pulled over to help.
“I thought we were stopping at a gas station or something,” Turner, who was in PJs and watching T.V. in the back of the bus, tells the Boot. “But, uh, we pulled over … There was a car flipped over right outside our window.”
The rest of the band had flown back home, but Turner, Wing and Hathaway had decided to take the scenic route. It’s a good thing they did, because they arrived in advance of first responders to the scene and pulled the passengers out of the flaming vehicle to safety.
“Harry was off the bus first with a fire extinguisher, and Thumper was right behind him, and I was right behind him,” Turner recalls. “I was on the driver’s side, pulling at the door, trying to get it open, and Thumper was on the passenger’s side … and he pulled three people out of that in the time it took me to figure out that I wasn’t gonna get the door open on the other side. And the whole time, the car was on fire, and Harry was wielding a small extinguisher on it.”
The motorists in the orange Dodge Charger were a man, a woman and a young girl, whom Turner estimates to be about 8 or 10 years old. KVIA reports that the man, who was driving, was taken to the Del Soto hospital with serious injuries and that the highway remained blocked for several hours so police could investigate the situation. The cause of the fire has not yet been released.
“If anything, Harry kept the car from burning everybody, and Thumper pulled three people out,” Turner says, adding, “If Harry hadn’t stopped, those people would be dead, I’m sure of it.”
Unfortunately this is not the first time Turner has seen something like this while on the road. He has apparently pulled motorists out of a burning car two times prior.
“We see all kinds of this s–t,” he admits, noting for that reason, “I know how a car will burn; they don’t explode like on T.V.”
The band is continuing to tour this summer, including kicking off their Smokin’ Mule Tour with Gov’t Mule in August.
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