The fire saved Colby Delahoussaye’s life.
Flames that scorched the LSU kicker’s left thigh woke him from an unconscious state, leading to his escape from Saturday night’s fiery car crash, which left two dead.
“All he remembers is that the fire was burning his leg and that woke him up,” said Dwayne Delahoussaye, Colby’s father, who traveled to Wisconsin on Sunday to be with his son. “He was knocked unconscious. The burning sensation revived him. That’s all he remembers. He doesn’t even know how he got out. He doesn’t know where he crawled out of.”
Details emerged Monday about the car crash that took the lives of Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler. The fiery wreck, in a wooded, rural area, left Delahoussaye with second-degree burns on his left leg, stitches on his head and bruises around his hips and chest.
It’s unclear whether Delahoussaye, presumably the Tigers’ starting placekicker, will begin preseason camp with LSU on Aug. 4, his father said. LSU is calling in a burn specialist to treat the wounds, he said. Second-degree burns take 10 to 21 days to heal, according to medical websites.
“He’s doing well considering,” Dwayne Delahoussaye said of his son. “He’s hurting a good bit, but Colby … he just keeps on going.”
Delahoussaye, through his father, declined to speak about the incident.
"He said, 'Tell everybody I'm going to be OK,' " Dwayne Delahoussaye said. "The love and support of Tiger nation has been great."
The accident remains under investigation by the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department. All three players were at a weekend kicking camp at Wales, Wisconsin, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee. The trio was en route to a wedding reception before the accident, Dwayne Delahoussaye said.
“People were excited to see them. They knew these boys,” he said. “They were on their way there.”
Former Wisconsin punter Drew Meyer told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the players were heading to his home near Merton, a small town northwest of Milwaukee. Dwayne Delahoussaye said the reception was at or near Meyer’s home. Meyer, riding in another car, took a different route to his home and arrived first. Sadler used a GPS device, taking him on a longer route that included a sharp curve. Meyer eventually drove to search for the other vehicle and stumbled upon the crash site, the Journal Sentinel reported.
"We essentially knew right away," Meyer told the newspaper. "My heart sank. I knew that turn, living in that area."
Delahoussaye was in the backseat of what Dwayne Delahoussaye said was a two-door Mercedes coupe, driven by Sadler. Foltz was in the passenger seat of the car, which a sheriff's department news release said lost control on wet pavement and struck a tree around 11:45 p.m. Saturday. Speed appeared to be a factor in the crash, the release said.
The car slid off the roadway between a light post and a tree before dropping off an embankment of 40 feet, Dwayne said.
“If they would have hit the light post or the tree, I think they would have been OK,” Dwayne Delahoussaye said.
The car hit a tree at the bottom of the embankment, and authorities believe Sadler and Foltz died instantly, Dwayne Delahoussaye said. The impact was so loud that it woke up residents nearby, he said.
Dwayne Delahoussaye said his son has no memory of how he escaped from the backseat of the burning, crumpled two-door car. He could have climbed out of the shattered back window, he said.
“The back side windows would have been too small,” Dwayne Delahoussaye said.
After he escaped, Delahoussaye called 911 on his shattered iPhone.
“He couldn’t believe it worked,” Dwayne Delahoussaye said.
Delahoussaye was wearing his seatbelt, and he was knocked unconscious in the crash, leaving a wound on his head that needed a few stitches, his father said. Because of the jolt of the crash, the seatbelt left a lot of bruising around Delahoussaye's chest and hips. X-rays performed Sunday morning at Waukesha Memorial Hospital revealed no internal injuries.
The second-degree burns on the top of Colby’s left thigh are causing him significant pain, his father said.
“He’s in a good bit of pain with that leg,” Dwayne said. “It’s very painful.”
LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye suffered second-degree burns on his left leg and received stit…
Delahoussaye spent Monday morning meeting with Karen Sadler, mother of Mike Sadler, the driver of the car. Delahoussaye recounted the events of Saturday night in an emotional conversation with Karen Sadler that unfolded on the drive to the Milwaukee airport Monday morning.
“She was able to visit with Colby and get closure,” Dwayne Delahoussaye said. “It was a tough thing. She was trying to put all of the pieces together.”
On Monday afternoon, the Delahoussayes were en route to the family’s home near Lafayette. They left on a flight from Milwaukee around 1 p.m. Karen Sadler let them drive her car to the airport.
“Her and Colby sat in the backseat. She gave us both a big hug before she left,” Dwayne Delahoussaye said. “I can’t even begin to imagine. ... I’m bringing my son home. She’s not.”
The Delahoussayes had planned to stay Sunday night with John Kohl, one of the founders of Kohl’s Kicking Camp, where the players were participants and instructors. Dwayne Delahoussaye said they instead stayed in a hotel Sunday before flying out.
Colby plans to be back in Baton Rouge on Monday night, but first he'll visit home.
“I’ll bring him home," Dwayne Delahoussaye said, "because his mom is anxious to see him."