Bluegrass legend ERNIE THACKER is fighting for his life in a Virginia hospital after sustaining multiple injuries in a traffic accident. Thacker's family has been keen to keep the news of the mandolin player's condition out of the press since his accident on 18 April (06), but reports finally surfaced at the weekend (29APR06). Thacker was a regular contributor to Ralph Stanley's albums and formed his own band ROUTE 23 a decade ago. A trust fund has been established to help Thacker's family cover medical costs.