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Thousands donated to Sudbury band after van crash

The community is rallying to help a Sudbury band involved in an accident on the Trans-Canada Highway in Saskatchewan last Wednesday.
Last Wednesday, Sudbury band Murder Murder was involved in an accident in Saskatchewan. Their van and trailer were totalled, and one of their members injured. Fundraising efforts for the band have already raised thousands. Supplied photo.
The community is rallying to help a Sudbury band involved in an accident on the Trans-Canada Highway in Saskatchewan last Wednesday.

The six members of Murder Murder and their sound technician had planned to perform 14 shows in western Canada, and were travelling in a 12-passenger van with a trailer attached.

The band — which describes its brand of murder-ballad-inspired traditional music as “bloodgrass” — hit bad weather in Whitewood, Sask., about 200 kilometres east of Regina.

“I believe the road flash froze to black ice, and it was incredibly windy out, and there was snow piled up on the side of the road,” said fiddle player Geoff McCausland.

At around 2 p.m., the van and trailer skidded off the road into the ditch, and the van rolled three quarters of the way over.

“It was terrifying,” McCausland said. “The scariest part was the second between when it happened and when we figured out that everybody was at least breathing and in one piece.”

Bass player Kris Dickson suffered a bad cut to one of his fingers that required treatment in hospital. Fortunately, that was the only injury to the band members. Oh, except Dickson's bass, which suffered a broken neck.

The van and the trailer were both totalled.

Band members then had to deal with getting Dickson medical treatment, scrapping their van and trailer and finding transport back to Sudbury.

They finally settled upon taking the train from Winnipeg — where some of the band has family — to Sudbury. They arrived back home at around 2 a.m. this morning, 28 hours after their departure.

“We were fortunate to bump into a sale,” McCausland said. “It was only $1,500 to get us and our gear from Winnipeg to Sudbury. When you're dealing with seven guys, no matter what you do, it's pretty expensive.”

To keep themselves occupied during the long train ride, the band jammed. Dickson was pretty bummed that he couldn't play, though — not only was his instrument destroyed, his hand injury means he can't play for awhile.

As word of the accident spread last week among Sudbury's tight-knit musical community, efforts began to raise funds to help the band recover.

That includes an Indiegogo campaign that had raised $12,070 as of this morning. The band's homecoming show — set to take place at Beef and Bird on Dec. 4 — has turned into a fundraising concert.

Planning for another fundraising concert at the Townehouse Tavern featuring several local bands is also in the works. Details have yet to be announced.

“It's a proud day to be a Sudburian,” McCausland said. “People are coming out of the woodwork and trying to support us.”

McCausland said the funds will go towards replacing the van and the other destroyed gear and covering the costs of getting them home to Sudbury.

He said the band plans to head back out west to complete its tour, but likely not while the winter weather lasts. “All Canadians know how dangerous it is,” McCausland said.