SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Marine veteran and musician from San Diego is sharing his story after suffering serious injuries from a horrific accident involving his band's tour bus.
Following his service in the U.S. Marines for a decade — most of it based at Camp Pendleton — Travis Wheeler set about pursuing his dream of becoming a professional musician.
His big break came in March when he landed a gig playing bass for the Oregon-based rock band Sleep Signals, ahead of their national tour.
“Incredibly exciting. It was the biggest band I’ve ever been in,” said Wheeler.
On a Wednesday morning sometime in August, their touring trailer arrived in St. Joseph, Missouri, for their 10th tour stop.
The trailer was occupied with multiple people, including Wheeler, and they were all asleep when a semi-truck rear-ended them on a highway.
“I was in the air, because we were flipping. We did flip,” said Wheeler.
“There was a second impact of me landing where I landed, in the window of the RV, in the back window. That's when my feet were pinned up underneath the outside of the window."
Six members of his band suffered minor to moderate injuries, but Wheeler's injuries were the most severe. Doctors had to amputate part of his right foot and three toes in his left foot. He also suffered a myriad of broken bones, including fractures in his arm, wrist and grisly fractures in his right hand.
“That’s not what was supposed to happen. I’m supposed to be having my big break. It’s not just me, but my band."
A determined Wheeler is already eyeing a comeback, and he says physical therapy is going well.
“Just because I lost pieces of me … I’m going to keep going."
Wheeler will likely be in the hospital for another week before he heads back to the San Diego area.
A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help wheeler with expenses.