On Tuesday, Tyler Rogers, the bassist for the Tulsa emo/pop-punk band Cliffdiver, was horribly injured in a strange and terrifying freak tour-van accident. Rogers was driving the Cliffdiver tour van at the moment of the accident, which easily could’ve injured or killed the other passengers in the van — five of the band’s seven members. After emergency surgery, Rogers is expected to make a miraculous full recovery. Before reading further, please be advised that this story is both intense and gross.
When the accident happened, the members of Cliffdiver were driving to Las Vegas, where they were scheduled to play a charity show associated with the Punk Rock Bowling festival. On Twitter and on the GoFundMe page that’s raising money for Rogers, Cliffdiver guitarist Matt Ehler writes that the band was driving on Interstate 44 outside Stroud, Oklahoma when this happened: “There was an enormous BOOM sound that sounded like a cannon being fired as the entire front of the van filled with glass shards and dust. As the air cleared, we quickly realized that the driver’s window was shattered and Tyler, who was driving at the time, was knocked completely unconscious.”
Tyler Rogers was knocked out, but his foot was stuck on the accelerator. While his bandmates tried to wake him up, they saw that “blood was spewing out of his neck/head region.” Not knowing what happened or whether he was still alive, they were able to wrestle his body off of the gas pedal, pull the van over to the side of the highway, put pressure on the wound, and call 911. As an ambulance arrived to take Rogers to the nearest hospital, his bandmates “were assured by everyone there that the actions we took not only saved Tyler’s life but all of our lives.”
Matt Ehler continues:
Once he was stable and paramedics were able to examine him, the sheriff approached us and told us that they found a large steel chain link lodged in his neck. The only reasonable explanation of what happened is that a semi-truck was pulling a trailer that had a load-bearing chain strap that had snapped under pressure, launching the chain link across the interstate and through our van window into Tyler’s neck.
Doctors in the emergency determined that Rogers’ “carotid artery had been punctured, his jugular was lacerated, he had fractures in his neck, had lost approximately 2 liters of blood and needed emergency surgery.” After the operation, doctors were able to rule out brain damage and move Rogers out of the ICU. Ehler writes, “Every doctor has made clear that despite there still being a long road to recovery ahead and a lingering possibility of his carotid artery rupturing, this was nothing short of a miracle and 99 times out of 100 the patient wouldn’t walk away from this type of injury.”
Right now, Tyler Rogers is still hospitalized, and his bandmates have launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover medical expenses and lost wages. The band has shared photos of the broken window and the chain link that was taken out of his neck. You can see those photos here, but you should be advised that they are gnarly. That chain link is big. You can donate to that GoFundMe campaign here, and you can read Ehler’s full account of the accident below.