Baroness Mark 1-Year Anniversary of Bus Crash, Reveal Driver Only Received $570 Fine
Yesterday, Aug. 15, marked the one-year anniversary of Baroness' gruesome bus crash near Bath, England. The bus broke through a guard rail before plummeting 30 feet into a wooded area, causing major injuries to those on board including Baroness frontman John Baizley and bus driver Norman Markus. Reports would later find that the bus crash was due to a multitude of ignored safety issues which Markus was responsible to meet before hitting the road.
Before Baroness delivered a truly breathtaking New York City performance on Aug. 14, we had the pleasure of speaking with John Baizley backstage at Irving Plaza. It was truly relieving to see John walking around comfortably, the frontman having spent a great deal of time confined to beds and wheelchairs after the crash.
During our interview, we asked Baizley if there were any developments in Markus' negligence charges, which included using a vehicle with defective brakes, breaching the bus' 7.5 ton weight limit, not adhering to sufficient daily and weekly rest periods, not having the correct license entitlement and using a vehicle in a condition likely to cause injury.
"He was brought to trial by the British government and found guilty and suffered nominal punishment for his safety negligence," Baizley answered. "Norman was a friend of ours before the crash had happened, so we're not trying to make a big stink about what he's going through and his difficulties. That's his personal thing. The fact is, we've all got our own little paths that we've taken since the accident and his has been a tough one, I'm sure. Unfortunately, I don't keep in touch with him. I think and I hope that he's seen the worst of it as this point and that he's moving forward, as the rest of us are."
When we asked Baizley what Norman Markus' sentence was, the frontman responded, "He was fined £365." (Roughly $570)
Late last night, on the one-year anniversary of Baroness' bus crash a statement was posted on the band's Facebook page:
August 15 – One Year Later
Today is the anniversary of the Baroness tour bus crash, a day on which nine passengers, all musicians and crew on a tour-bus bound for Southhampton, UK, could have lost their lives. The miraculous and astoundingly simple fact is that we all survived. While I will not speak directly about what anyone individually has gone through since the moment of impact, I can easily say that we have all gotten better and moved on. Yes, there are aches, pains, anxieties and frustrations that accompany us to this day, but they seem somewhat trivial when compared with the imminent end we all thought so certain as our bus plummeted off the viaduct to the ground below. None of us has had a particularly easy year, we have all been forced by matter of circumstance to gain a immense level of respect for the severity of our accident. We have all had to heal, in vastly different ways. Similarly, we have each taken uniquely different paths in the wake of rehabilitation and recovery. It comes as a great relief to me personally that, in spite of all the trauma and confusion, each of us has, in our beautifully individual way, powered through the dreadful and dark imprint that August 15, 2012 left on us. The strength and focus that each one of us found after that day has been inspiring; we each took our due time, defined a goal through which we could move past that moment, strapped on our proverbial boots and marched forward with resolutely. For some, it took a matter of weeks to get back on tour again; for others it meant changing the personal and professional course of our lives. Not one of us faltered; and we have, each of us, earned this bittersweet anniversary with the help of one other, with our own strength of conviction, our mutual support, and with a passionate tenacity to appreciate and make something positive and constructive of our lives, for which we now have a much deeper appreciation. I love each of you more than I have the capacity to write here, and I can barely relate the gratitude I have for all of those family members, friends, and total strangers who lent us a hand along the way. You were there when we needed it most.
For my brothers and sisters of the Brassknocker Hill crash. We are bound to one another. Raise a glass, embrace those you love, appreciate the delicate and all-too-brief magnificence of life.
Once more. Till the wheels fall off. . .