An Army Vet Walks Away From I-81 Crash On 9th Anniversary of Iraq Attack [VIDEO + PHOTOS]
An Army veteran headed from Nashville to Watertown, New York to play a memorial show for a fallen soldier was involved in a massive pileup on Interstate 81. Ian Wagner walked away unscathed, almost 9 years to the day he was injured by an IED in Iraq. He calls the crash 'alive day #2.'
Wagner flew from Nashville to Syracuse and borrowed a friend's car to drive to Watertown for a tribute to Jack Sweet, a fellow soldier killed in action in 2008. Michael Richardson owned that car. Although it and all his music equipment was destroyed in the accident, he says it's a miracle Wagner wasn't hurt and "I'm just blessed to have not lost a friend."
Wagner didn't lose his life but he did lose his livelihood, so local musician banded together to provide equipment for the Jack Sweet memorial because the "show must go on," Richardson says. "If he lost an arm, he would have still found a way to play that show."
Despite being banged up from the crash, Wagner did play that show to honor Sweet. "I try to play at as many memorials as I can but Jack's is special to me. I'm very close to his family and to me, Jack represents everyone who made the ultimate sacrifice,' says Wagner.
Sunday, Wagner was in Alexandra Bay, celebrating Sweet's life with a family fun day. "Jack liked a good party so we'll be out on the ice, in the cold, to party in his honor." Wagner will also celebrate his own life after escaping death, twice.
Wagner's video at the scene has gone viral and he says, "I was a little shook up and misspoke. I didn't think the whole world was going to see it." He said it was a year ago he was injured overseas and it was actually 9 years.
A fundraising campaign has been set up to help replace the equipment lost in the crash. "It's a tough life being a musician, but even tougher when you don't have the necessary tools for your craft," says Richardson, who set up the GoFundMe page for Wanger.
If you're ever in Nashville you can catch Wagner at Tootles where he says he plays almost every night.
Check out more on Ian Wagner at his Facebook page.