David Turner, Josh Turner’s Longtime Crew Member, Dies in Bus Crash
The man killed when Josh Turner's crew tour bus crashed in California on Wednesday night (Sept. 18) has been identified. David Turner, a longtime member of Turner's sound crew, was 64 years old.
According to KSBY-TV, officials identified David Turner -- no relation to Josh Turner -- as the deceased early Thursday (Sept. 19) morning. Tupelo, Miss., newspaper the Daily Journal reports that David Turner, a native of Bruce, Miss., worked as part of Josh Turner's sound, lighting and stage crew; according to his LinkedIn page, he began working with the singer in early 2006.
Jerry Slone, a friend of David Turner and some of Josh Turner's other crew members, tells WKRN-TV, that David Turner ("DT" to his friends) had worked in the music business for more than 40 years, with artists including Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty and Patty Loveless. He was a husband, father and grandfather, and loved coffee, cigars and talking politics. Slone describes him as a "sweet guy" with a "gentle soul [and a] big heart."
David Turner and seven other people -- one bus driver and six additional members of Josh Turner's road crew -- were on a tour bus headed from Paso Robles, Calif., to Washington State when the bus crashed in Shandon, Calif., around 11:45PM local time. The tour bus, which was being driven by 39-year-old Bradley Dratnol, drove off the road and through 20 yards of vegetation, then went down an 80-foot cliff, hitting the sand of a dry riverbed below. Josh Turner and his band were on another bus that was part of the same caravan.
The front end of the bus that crashed sustained major damage, and a trailer that was being towed by the bus flipped on top of the bus. First responders needed to use the jaws of life to extricate one victim, and set up a rope system to rescue the passengers from the riverbed.
Of the eight people on the bus, two were ejected from the vehicle in the crash. Five people sustained moderate injuries, and two others suffered major injuries; six of the victims were taken to local hospitals, while Dratnol, the driver, sustained serious leg injuries and was airlifted to a hospital in Fresno, Calif.
An eyewitness to the crash reports that the tour bus was traveling approximately 60-65 miles per hour at the time of the accident, in an area in which the speed limit is 55 miles per hour. Someone on a bus following the bus that crashed says they did not see brake lights go on when the bus that crashed left the road. California Highway Patrol officials are working to determine what caused the crash, but have ruled out drugs or alcohol as a cause; they are also exploring the possibility of mechanical issues, and will be impounding the vehicle. Charges will likely be filed because of the death and injuries.
Josh Turner was scheduled to perform in Yakima, Wash., on Friday (Sept. 20). However, according to a representative for the singer, all remaining September shows will be rescheduled for a later date.
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