Shenandoah, a popular country band that came to fame in the 1980s and 1990s with such hits as “Next to You, Next to Me,” and “The Church on Cumberland Road,” narrowly escaped serious injury in early June when the tour bus that they were traveling on was involved in a serious accident and fire in Beaumont Texas.
The band had just performed in Stafford, a town near Houston, and was driving east on Interstate 10 on their way back to Nashville when the incident occurred. The bus was in the process of crossing the Naches River Bridge when a vehicle that they were riding behind rammed into the back of another vehicle that had passed them. The driver of the closest vehicle was apparently intoxicated, and the vehicle that was rammed had been carrying a fuel tank, which exploded upon impact. The tour bus drove directly through the fireball and then swerved to avoid the accident itself, nearly rolling the bus in the process.
According to Shenandoah drummer Mike McGuire, “The tank exploded and we drove thru a fireball as big as a house. It was dark and I was up in front of the bus so I saw it. A big bang where we were side-swiped and all the sudden we were engulfed in a huge fireball. Witnesses behind us told authorities that the flames totally engulfed our bus at one point and you could not see it. Our driver swerved to miss them as they were just in front of us and on fire. We almost rolled the bus over on it’s side swerving to miss and if we had’ve would’ve likely rolled off the bridge.”Nobody on board the tour bus was injured.
The tour bus driver pulled over on the other side of the bridge, fearing that the vehicle, which was badly damaged by the flames and having been side-swiped, might catch on fire. There they found a police car, and they quickly reported the accident. A man and woman who had been in the vehicle carrying the fuel tank were taken to the hospital and the intoxicated driver and his passengers, who were travelling in a pick-up truck, were uninjured. The driver of the pick-up will be charged for drunk driving and other violations.