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McComb Witten Marcoux

Two Members of Rock Band Comatose After Severe Vancouver Car Crash

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

Posted on Oct 17, 2013

Our Vancouver car crash lawyers recently learned about a serious motor vehicle accident involving a local Surrey-based rock band, Tommy Alto. Following an all-night drive, the band's van crashed, causing serious injuries to the band's bassist, Paul Engels, and drummer, Chartwell Kerr. The accident took place just outside the city of Hope around 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday.

Tommy Alto's singer, Tom Vander Kam, described what happened: “We’re really not entirely sure how it happened … I was asleep when it happened, and somehow we ended up going off the road, and we hit a boulder and went into a barrel roll."

Almost everyone in the band—with the exception of a roadie, who was mostly protected because he landed on a pile of blankets—suffered harm, including soft tissue damage, head injuries, broken ribs, lacerations, and puncture wounds. Vander Kam escaped the crash with less serious injuries than his band mates did. Both Chartwell Kerr and Paul Engels had to be put into medically induced comas.

Vander Kam relayed the details of their condition to a local paper: “They both have collapsed lungs, head trauma and a lot of internal bleeding and broken ribs… our drummer’s whole left leg completely shattered, because he was in the front passenger seat, and the engine actually came through the dashboard upon impact. The only reason he’s alive is because he was leaning back, sleeping in his chair. Otherwise, he would have gone face first into the engine and been gone.”

The band had just played the final show of a long tour. They were eager to get back home, so they decided to pull an all-nighter. The driver may have dozed off, lost control of the vehicle, and failed to recover in time to stop.

Since the crash, the band has received a huge outpouring of well wishes and support from fans on Facebook and Twitter. Vander Kam hopes Tommy Alto will be able to get back together and won’t just be remembered for being in a gruesome car accident. “We are a band, and that’s what we do and what we love; and it may take weeks or months, but we will return and keep making music together as a unit.”

The Vancouver car crash attorneys at McComb Witten send sincere wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured band members.

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