COMMERCE, Ga. (AP) — Three people were killed and eight were injured when a van carrying members of two heavy metal bands careened off an interstate and down an embankment in northeast Georgia on Monday, authorities said.
The 15-passenger van was carrying 12 people from South Carolina toward Atlanta when it went off Interstate 85 near the town of Commerce about 7 a.m., the Georgia State Patrol said.
Nicholas Crisostomo, 25, of Round Hill, Virginia, Ian McKinney, 30, of Madison, Tennessee, and Paul Truesdell, 29, of Mableton, Georgia, were killed in the crash, the Georgia Department of Public Safety said in an emailed statement.
Eight others were injured and taken to Athens Regional Medical Center and Northeast Georgia Medical Center, GSP officials said.
The van's driver "apparently fell asleep and allowed the vehicle to leave the roadway, at which time the vehicle struck a tree on the passenger side," Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Scott Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://on-ajc.com/1c0Wf7L).
The van contained members of two heavy metal bands who were traveling together and was pulling a trailer with the musicians' equipment, Smith told the Atlanta newspaper. Members of the bands Wormreich and Khaotika were in the van, said Odin Thompson, manager of Moribund Records based in Port Orchard, Washington.
The two bands were scheduled to play along with others Monday night at the Basement in East Atlanta. A posting on the venue's website said the show had been canceled and a benefit concert is set for April 13. A Gofundme.com page also was launched to support the survivors and the families of the band members.
The van's driver was not injured and charges are pending in the crash, authorities said.
The crash happened about 65 miles northeast of Atlanta. It caused traffic to back up in the area along the interstate, a key route between Georgia and the Carolinas, said Teri Pope, a spokeswoman with the Georgia Department of Transportation.