British band killed by wrong-way driver

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionBand killed in crash were ‘lovely, lovely men’

The crash that killed both members of British band Her’s and their tour manager was caused by a “wrong-way driver”, according to US authorities.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, 24, and Audun Laading, 25, died in the collision in Arizona while travelling to a gig in California on Wednesday.

Officials in Arizona said a Nissan pick-up had been “travelling eastbound on the westbound lane” of Interstate 10 before hitting the duo’s Ford van.

There were no survivors.

The band, whose members met as students at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), were driving about 350 miles from a performance in Phoenix, Arizona to Santa Ana in California.

In a statement, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said the crash happened at about 01:00, shortly after it first received reports of the wrong-way driver.

‘World at their feet’

The band’s tour manager, 37-year-old Trevor Engelbrektson, from Minneapolis, had been driving their van, the department said.

The other driver was named as Francisco Edward Rebollar, 64, of Murrieta, California.

“Both vehicles were engulfed in flames,” the department said.

“There was no roadway evidence to indicate braking by either vehicle prior to impact. An alcoholic beverage container was located in the debris field.”

Officials confirmed Mr Fitzpatrick, from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and Mr Laadin, from Norway, were among the deceased.

Image copyright

Image caption

The crash took place while members of the band Her’s were travelling to Santa Ana, California

The duo’s record label Heist or Hit described them as “one of the UK’s most loved up-and-coming bands”.

They recently released a debut album and were featured by BBC Introducing.

On Monday, before the crash, the band posted on Facebook: “It’s almost home time for the lads, US tour has gone swimmingly so far. Got a hot sunset date with the Grand Canyon tonight.”

Their label, Heist or Hit, said they had been playing 19 shows on their second tour of North America, having released their debut album Invitation To Her’s last year.

“They were in America playing to thousands of adoring fans. Fans they made a point of meeting and spending time with, such was their passion and humbleness. The world was at their feet,” the label said.

Earlier this month, Her’s were filmed by BBC Introducing playing an acoustic performance during the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

BBC Introducing presenter Huw Stephens said the band were “excellent, funny and clearly loving playing to an American audience”.

“In their interview they spoke about their enduring friendship on tour, how Liverpool had adopted them as they’d moved there from Barrow-in-Furness and Norway respectively, and their excitement about the future,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *