I’ve been a touring musician for over 5 years now and that means a lot of travelling. The drives get long and tuff, but its amazing to see the countryside go by with your friends. Travelling also means that you have to make drives you don’t want to do. I don’t like driving in winter at all because in the passes, there are usually patches of ice all over. I used to not mind it as much until a few years ago.
I was on a tour with Brandon Bee and my friend Matt. Matt and I flew back from Nashville to pick up our van and trailer and we were going to meet Brandon in Boise. Brandon had to stick back in Nashville an extra day to finish mixes for an album. In order to make it work, we had to fly back and drive through the night so we could make on time to a show in east Idaho.
We did okay for about 6 hours, but then we got pretty tired. It was the middle of the night so we decided to pull into a rest stop and get a few hours of sleep. We fell asleep instantly, but woke up about an hour too late. To help us not feel rushed, we reminded ourselves that the roads were still pretty bad and had icy spots on them.
We started driving through eastern Oregon through the Blue Mountains. It was about 8 am as we drove into the Baker Valley and the sun was just starting to come through the clouds. For some reason we had Keith Green playing at this time. It wasn’t hot enough for all the ice to melt, but it was trying to. We drove cautiously with the other drivers down the highway. The drive was starting to feel better and I was getting more comfortable with the weather conditions. The right lane was dry, but the left lane still had icy patches. We came up to a semi that was partway on the shoulder letting other drivers pass. We already were going 40 which was pretty slow, but better safe than sorry. We passed the semi with the other drivers.
There was a slight corner when we passed the semi, so we were turning more than usual to get back into the lane. As we went to merge back into the lane we caught a piece of ice. I started to feel the van slide and corrected back like I had been doing the whole time, but our trailer had different plans. It was a small trailer without brakes and had weight in it that let it gain momentum in the slide. The trailer ended up dragging across the left lane and pulled the van with it. I remember sliding towards the ditch and not having any control. It was probably the scariest thing I’ve experienced. That was until the next part. We hit the ditch that was soft and muddy from snow melting. As we made impact with the ditch, our van was immediately stopped and we started to roll.
I remember holding onto the wheel, spinning, and waiting for my head to hit something and black out. After rolling a few times we ended up landing upright. I was in shock for a minute, sitting there wondering how I’m still alive. I looked over at Matt to see if he was okay. He looked over and I asked if he was alright. He said, “ya.” We both sat there trying to figure out what happened. I opened the door of our smashed up, mud covered van. I walked outside and saw items just laying around and saw the trailer 100 yards from where our van landed. I remember seeing the semi truck driver running towards us and asking if we were okay. I said, “Yeah, I’m fine.” He said, “Are you sure? Cause you were flipping 20 feet in the air!” Shortly after an ambulance showed up and check us out. We ended up being completely fine and unharmed. Matt was a little sore, but that was it.
If you saw our van you would have thought we would have been seriously injured if not dead. The van flipped so high in the air that it missed the top. All the windows on Matt’s side of the van were smashed except for the one right by his head. The back was completely destroyed. If Brandon would have been back there he would have serious injuries. After a days rest, we joined back up with Brandon for the rest of the tour. We told everyone the story that we met that week and it ended up being a great way to show how good God is.
Now I look back at the accident and thank God for protecting us. It was a miracle that we survived. So many factors were against us, but God was for us and we came out of the accident alive and unharmed. I still get anxiety when I drive in the winter, but I know God protecting me. Now I’m more cautious about my driving limits and also pray a lot more when driving in the winter.