© 2024 Public Radio Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive
Tulsa, OK 74104
(918) 631-2577

A listener-supported service of The University of Tulsa
classical 88.7 | public radio 89.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

CLIFFDIVER bassist's survival 'nothing short of a miracle'

Tyler Rogers of Tulsa band CLIFFDIVER is seen in the hospital after a load-bearing chain lodged in his neck on May 23, 2023, near Stroud, Okla. while driving with the band to perform in Las Vegas.
Tyler Rogers of Tulsa band CLIFFDIVER is seen in the hospital after a load-bearing chain lodged in his neck on May 23, 2023, near Stroud, Okla. while driving with the band to perform in Las Vegas.

Tulsa band CLIFFDIVER is recuperating after what the band described as a freak accident nearly killed its bassist, but they hope to be playing to crowds again soon.

Guitarist Matt Ehler said a load-bearing chain on a passing semi-truck snapped and crashed through the windshield of the band’s van between Tulsa and Oklahoma City on May 23. The chain lodged in driver Tyler Rogers’ neck, puncturing an artery and cutting his jugular.

Doctors told Rogers' bandmates that he lived thanks to their actions.

"Every doctor has made clear that despite there still being a long road to recovery ahead and a lingering possibility of his carotid artery rupturing, this was nothing short of a miracle and 99 times out of 100 the patient wouldn't walk away from this type of injury," Ehler said in a Facebook post.

CLIFFDIVER is a seven-piece emo band fronted by vocalists Joey Duffy and Briana Wright. The band's music features saxophone played over early 2000s pop punk riffs and lyrics that discuss mental health struggles.

The band was slated to perform in Las Vegas at an event hosted by Punk Rock Saves Lives on May 26. They left a few days early to spend time in New Mexico and Utah before the show.

The band passed the semi-truck near Stroud.

"There was an enormous BOOM sound that sounded like a cannon being fired as the entire front of the van filled with glass shards and dust. As the air cleared, we quickly realized that the driver's window was shattered and Tyler, who was driving at the time, was knocked completely unconscious," the post reads.

After noticing blood spewing out of Rogers' neck, Ehler struggled to pull Rogers' foot off the accelerator. He eventually climbed to the driver's seat and stopped the van.

The bandmates gave Rogers aid until help arrived.

Medical workers told the band that Rogers' carotid artery was punctured, his jugular was cut, he had fractures in his neck, and he had lost two liters of blood.

"After coming out of a successful surgery, the doctors determined that brain damage would not be a threat and that the chain link struck his neck in such a way that it caused a hematoma and kept him from bleeding out," the post reads.

Rogers spent the following days in the hospital.

"He’s at home now just kind of focusing on recovery and relaxing as much as he can. He’s still in quite a bit of pain," Rogers told Public Radio Tulsa on Thursday.

Doctors told the band Rogers has a "lingering possibility" of his carotid artery rupturing. They also said he has a long road to recovery.

But Ehler said Rogers wants to join his band for their summer tour dates, given doctors' clearance.

"I think if we were to cancel tour dates and not play shows, that would be a negative health effect for us" Ehler said.

While the band has exceeded their initial fundraising goal for Rogers’ recovery, Ehler said they’re still looking for grants to help pay for expenses.

Those who wish to donate to Rogers’ recovery may do so on the band's GoFundMe.

Max Bryan is a news anchor and reporter for KWGS. A Tulsa native, Bryan worked at newspapers throughout Arkansas and in Norman before coming home to "the most underrated city in America." Several of Bryan's news stories have either led to or been cited in changes both in the public and private sectors.