OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Two members of the local soul, R&B band, Tower of Power, were struck by an Amtrak train at Oakland's Jack London Square Thursday night, according to the group's manager.
The manager said the band who was set to perform at Yoshi's, located at 510 Embarcadero West near Clay, was staying at a nearby hotel and walking over to the concert venue, when they crossed in front of the train.
Oakland Fire Department confirms the incident was reported around 7:40 p.m. Yoshi's General Manager said band members were thrown some distance and that the show was just about to start. “We don’t know if they didn’t see it because they were hurrying to get to the show, or what happened,” Hal Campos told KTVU. “When I got to them, they were on opposite sides of the train, and their arms and legs were twisted, and they were unconscious..”
According a Union Pacific spokesman, a Union Pacific train had crossed through the area just before the incident. It is believed the men crossed the street and did not see an Amtrak train coming in the opposite direction. A spokeswoman for Amtrak said it is believed the men went around the crossing arm to cross the street. She indicated the crossing arms were down and the warning lights and sirens were flashing.
Fellow members of the 10 piece band rushed outside to the scene, and later the band released the following statement: "In an unfortunate accident tonight, two members of the award-winning group Tower Of Power, drummer David Garibaldi and current bassist Marc van Wageningen, were struck by a train in California.
Both men are responsive and being treated at a local hospital in Oakland." The two musicians were transported to Highland Hospital after ambulances arrived at the scene, the fire department said on Twitter. It appeared both men suffered internal injuries.
Bandleader Emilio Castilo released a statement: "I was at the hospital last night and saw David but Marc was in intensive care and I wasn't able to see him. Dave's head and face were pretty swollen and bruised but he was lucid and expected to recover. Marc came through surgery well; his internal bleeding was stopped and they were waiting for him to stabilize in order to do further testing. The doctors were cautiously optimistic. We appreciate the responses and prayers from our former bandmates, friends, and fans and we all remain hopeful and in prayer."
At 10 p.m. van Wageningen was in surgery, according to a friend and manager for Pete Escovedo’s Band. He said van Wageningen normally played with Escovedo, but was substituting for Tower of Power’s regular bassist during the Yoshi’s run. Amtrak in a statement said that the Capitol Corridor train 547, which operates between Sacramento and San Jose, struck the two who were trespassing and that 26 passengers were on board.
An hour after the collision, the train resumed its travel. Tower of Power was scheduled to perform two sold-out shows at Yoshi's at 8 and 10 p.m. An announcement was made that both shows were canceled, and audience members were stunned. “Very shocked, “ said fan Christine Curry, “ and all we can do it pray that they’re going to be okay.” “Oldest funk band, best funk band,” commented fan Donovan Mitchell, “and how can you know Oakland and not know Tower of Power, they are the same.”
The legendary band formed in Oakland in the 1960's and is known for hits like "You're Still a Young Man" and "What is Hip?"
Tower of Power is set to perform next Wednesday in San Diego as part of a cross country tour. An employee for the venue in San Diego said the show has not been canceled.