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Published: 2011/10/28

Widespread Panic Releases Statement Regarding Fatal Heart Attack of Bus Driver

Photo via Widespread Panic Facebook page

Yesterday we reported on an incident involving a Widespread Panic tour bus. Today the band shared a statement, mourning the loss of driver Tom Torrisi. The complete statement appears below:

Our good friend, Tom Torrisi, passed away from a heart attack while at the wheel of one the Widespread Panic crew buses. The bus and crew were en route to Ames, Iowa on the morning of Oct. 27th.

As the vehicle left the road, merchandise manager Rachel Kellenberger positioned herself in the driver’s seat and brought the bus to a stop in the highway (I-35N) median. Crew member John Switzer administered CPR. One other crew member, Eric Bice was treated for head injuries after being thrown from his bunk during the accident. All other passengers were shaken, but otherwise un-injured.

In the midst of our shock and sorrow, we’re extremely proud of the whole crew in the way they looked after Mr. Torrisi and each other during the incident. Tom was Widespread Panic family, a good soul, funny hearted and well respected. We will forever miss the snickering smile that we all grew to love. Be at peace our lovable road wizard. Much Love to you, Tom Torrisi! You were definitely one of a kind, sir!

Our Hearts and Love reach out to Tom and the Torrisi Family.

Shortly after the accident, with police still on the scene, another collision occurred in the I 35 southbound lane. Our Sadness and and Blessings extend to all those involved, as well

Widespread Panic Band & Crew


There are 24 comments associated with this post

TCinNYC October 28, 2011, 10:38:57

RIP Tom. Panic has dealt with alot of tragedy over the years (like all our own families) & they do so with grace & humility. I really admire the band & their crew.

Vicki October 28, 2011, 10:55:55

RIP Tom, the band put on an awesome concert despite the tragedy yesterday.

Tom c October 28, 2011, 12:17:16

Tommy t u will be missed

Tom c October 28, 2011, 12:17:21

Tommy t u will be missed

Tom c October 28, 2011, 12:17:21

Tommy t u will be missed

Mr C October 28, 2011, 12:19:10

A heart felt feelings of sympathy for Mr Torrisi, his family, and the band. This was my first WP concert and all I can say is WOW. You guys were amazing. And to think you were performing under such sad conditions. My hat is off to the band and all involved. Hoping for better days ahead.
Mr C (Stacey Collins)

Amy October 28, 2011, 12:50:41

Love & healing energy to all involved.

richard cartner October 28, 2011, 14:14:44

RIP. He died with his boots on

Kevin October 28, 2011, 14:24:01

RIP Tom – May God take you in his arms and find you peace. WSP, you put on a great show last night in Tom’s honor ~ it showed the love you have for the WSP family!!! May you each find peace in the coming days!!!

Marty October 28, 2011, 14:56:51

What a tragic loss for Tom’s family, the band and the whole Widespread Panic community! RIP Tom. You, your immediate family, and your WP family are in the thoughts and hearts of many on this sad day. The band put on an awesome show, despite having to endure this terrible tragedy only hours earlier. And while most fans would have disappointedly understood if the band cancelled last night’s show under these tragic circumstances, they stuck by the age-old adage “the show must go on” ... Wow, pretty amazing! I’m sure Tom would have wanted it that way. As one of the other posters noted, this is sadly yet more tragedy that the band has had to deal with over the years. Their carrying on in spite of that is truly the epitome of grace and humility, to be sure! It was strange, and I really couldn’t put my finger on it last night at the show, but I could just sense a sort of pensive mood of the band. And then come to learn only this morning what had happened yesterday … wow, pretty freaky. Definitely in a funk about it today. Anyway, peace to all.

Steve Yarborough (Driver) October 28, 2011, 15:07:38

RIP Bro.
I did’nt know you but you but was givin the sad new from my brother who knew you well. May you stand proud with the Angles as you watch over us.
A true hero to the end that you took your last breath stuggling to keep your people safe… they are still with us …
God Bless

MarkS128 October 29, 2011, 21:26:11

I didn’t know Tom Torrisi personally, but being a former “road warrior” I can relate to both the life of a driver and the lives of a band and crew. I more than appreciate his service to his profession and to his career, and to know that he loved it enough to be willing to do it to his dying day. Godspeed to you Mr. Torrisi, may you rest in sweet peace. To Widespread Panic band & crew… you are to be commended for your pure professionalism in this matter and for the way you handled this incident from the onset. I understand that this isn’t your first taste of bad road life, but you handled it all with grace, dignity and in a very professional manner. And if Tom Torrisi is like every other driver and/or band/crew member I’ve ever known, then yes, he would have wanted the ‘show to go on’. Best wishes to all of you and much success on this and all future tours. Mark

timmy October 29, 2011, 23:16:47

RIP to Tom Torrissi. Dealing with sudden death of a loved one is one of the hardest things to go through. There was a meloncholy mood to the show on Thursday. So unbelievable that Panic was able to just play on. But then again, I’m not surprised. I’m sure it’s therapeutic for them, and something they know all too well. “Hope In A Hopeless World” was there opening song that night. Much props to the crew for thinking quick, and avoiding an even bigger disaster.

julie gagne October 30, 2011, 01:48:23

I was not that close to my uncle tom, but I knew he loved driving for the bands and enjoyed it everyday! Rest in peace uncle tom!

Mike Barros October 31, 2011, 18:26:11

Thanks for all the love you have given our great friend and brother Tom. This is Mike B (BURR),one of Toms hometown good friends. He was one of the greatest. Being as humble as he was I doubt he ever mentioned what a “GREAT” athlete he was. Him and I also took a trip to Florida when we were only 18. It was one of the best tomes in my life…. Just found out that his brother os bringing hin “home”. What a great memorial and celebration we will have. It would be great if somehow the WP band could make to Lowell to meet Tom’s family and friends. Who knows,maybe parlay it into a show at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium or Tsongas Arena. Again,THANKS for the love and friendship you all have given “one of the best” Mike Barros (BURR) from Toms hometown-Lowell,Massachusetts

linda October 31, 2011, 19:07:30

I recently met Tom on their trip to raleigh he said i was his favorite bartender :) that week:) he was a cool person ! very fun & down to earth! I know all his friend and family will miss him! He spoke alot about his daughter.

Lennie Jones October 31, 2011, 21:21:22

Rest in Gods strong hands Brother Tom. Il’l always remember our many years of gym fun, all the laughter, your amazing athleticism & herculean strength, wonderful road stories, humility & ever lengthening beard. My prayers go to your wife & daughter Brother, as well as John R., Phil B. and all who love & respect you.I know how you adored Panic, and I’m thankful you were amongst such loved ones in your time….

Pat (Jenoski) Onanian November 1, 2011, 09:58:24

Tom grew up with my bro Mike in the Lowell, Ma. area. We had some fun & pranks throughout the years! God speed Tom & may the big bands contin ue playing for you in heaven!! Patty O & Family

Kathleen McGuire-Lappen November 1, 2011, 15:58:24

Everytime I think of Tommy, I can hear him laugh. He was just such a great guy. He had a great sense of humor. My condolences to his family.

Katrina November 2, 2011, 10:44:13

My heart goes out to tom’s family, & his Widespread family. I have had the honor of meeting Tom, & he is one character that will never be forgotten. May his soul live on in happiness, the way he was in life.

Heidi November 4, 2011, 23:00:08

Oh, just say it ain’t so. Tom, I’ve been cryin all day since I found out that you’re gone. Thank you for your friendship, your love, & the times that we shared. You are already so greatly missed by many. Your family was so blessed to share in your life. I can still hear your voice, your laugh and feel your big bear hugs. Godspeed my friend, until we meet again.

Randy November 5, 2011, 18:31:48

one of the best dudes on the planet… if you didnt get a chance to hang with him you really missed out….

Sonya Allen November 12, 2011, 19:09:42

Sad sad news! RIP Tom

Adam Westbury November 19, 2011, 19:04:40

My thoughts and prayers are with Tom and his family. And especially the Widespread Panic family whom I have been a part of for over 20 years. Thank you so much guys… beyond words!

Julie December 3, 2011, 11:06:57

As terrible as this sounds, I just found out about Tom’s passing yesterday via Facebook. I worked with Tom for about 2 1/2 years, and he was always such a great guy. I sincerely miss him. I miss your beard, Tom! Much love and peace be with you as you travel on in your journey.

Mario Soares December 8, 2012, 18:07:28

Uncle Tommy, i miss you a lot bro. The saying one life ends and. Another begins holds true once again, as you passed, and my daughter, your little niece was born. And to think of all those nights when you were driving across country and i was working my paper route at 4-5 am, and our texting sessions and cobversations about life, steph, and how much the dolphins suck(lol) more than once litterally saved my life . You kept me from falling asleep. At the wheel, and to know that you passed while on the wheel hurts so much. If it wasnt for you eloise may noy even be here. I kiss our talks, and we never got to ride the dragons tail together like we said we would, but maybe on the other side….im sure ill be able to afford a harley then. Steph misses you so much, shes so much like you it aint even funny, thats why her n her mom always butt heads lol. Idk what prompted me to write this here now, maybe because i saved our last text session, or maybe because i still have ur number on my contacts, or maybe because i still drive late at night and i feel you watching me. I keep your pucture on the inside pocket of my bike jacket, over my heart,. Eloise is the one that loses the most, not getting to meet her crazy uncle tommy….i saw ur daughter at timmys wedding in vermont, n shes grown to be an amazing girl, youd be so proud. Anyways brother, youll always be in my heart, thoughts and part of our lives. I love you man. Bless.

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