A van carrying members of two heavy metal bands veered off the highway in Jackson County on Monday morning, killing three people and injuring eight more.
“It’s been a lot of watching and waiting and sending positive energy to all of the people involved,” Amos Rifkin, a music promoter and friend of the bands involved, said Monday afternoon. “It’s a horrible situation.”
Georgia State Patrol spokesman Cpl. Scott Smith said the van toting 15 members of the bands Khaotika and Wormreich was on I-85 southbound near Maysville Road on Monday around 7 a.m. when it veered off the road. Authorities believe the driver, identified as 27-year-old Khaotika member and Athens resident Sergio Quesada, fell asleep at the wheel before the vehicle plowed into a tree.
Three people were pronounced dead at the scene, which was about 65 miles northeast of Atlanta: Nicholas Crisostomo, 25, of Round Hill, Va.; Ian A. McKinney, 30, of Madison, Tenn.; and Paul J. Truesdell, 29, of Mableton.
Crisostomo was listed as a member of Khaotika, an Atlanta-based group whose Facebook page describes its music as “melodic occult metal.” McKinney and Truesdell were believed to be members of Wormreich, a Huntsville, Ala.-based band whose Facebook page describes its music as “black metal.”
Eight other people were injured in the crash, the state patrol said, and, as of Monday afternoon, three were in critical condition. Those injured were: Matthew A. Shaner, 31, of Silver Springs, Md.; Jasmine Zarinebaf, 19, of Naperville, Ill.; Kamilla Hayes, 44, of Norcross; Patricia Shoemaker, 49, of Jonesboro; Christopher Pezzano, 45, of Toney, Ala.; Christopher E. Pyle, 27, of Owensboro, Ky.; James C. Berile, 25, of Leesburg, Va.; and Stephen K. Shoemaker, 53, of Jonesboro.
Some victims were taken to Athens Regional Medical Center, while others were transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, authorities said. It was unclear which were considered in critical condition.
Rifkin said Monday afternoon that many of those injured were still in surgery.
Khaotika and Wormreich were on a short tour together, playing in Chicago on Friday, St. Louis on Saturday and Spartanburg, S.C., on Sunday. They were scheduled to play Monday night at The Basement, a venue on the lower level of East Atlanta Village’s Graveyard Tavern.
“Tonight’s show at The Basement is cancelled,” a post on the venue’s website said. “The van carrying Wormreich & Khaotika was involved in a serious accident on the way to Atlanta. Our thoughts are with those involved & their families.”
In the hours following the crash, a benefit concert was scheduled in support of the bands. Late Monday, though, Rifkin said both that and a GoFundMe.com fundraising page had been “postponed indefinitely” at the request of the families affected.
“Everybody is obviously really shaken up,” Rifkin said earlier in the day. “Everybody had friends, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters in the van.”
— Staff photographer Bob Andres contributed to this report.