Monday, April 7, 2014

Louisiana Tech Basketball Coach Describes in 1st Person His Rollover Accident On I-20

Louisiana Tech basketball coach, Michael White joined us Friday to discuss his new contract (6 year, $3.6 million extension) and preview the Final Four. 

We invited him to join us again today (Monday) to forecast the Championship Game between UConn and Kentucky.  Little did we know, White would also have the blow-by-blow recall of a hair-raising accident he and Louisiana Tech Men's Basketball Director of Operations Kyle Church lived through Sunday afternoon. From our interview this morning on, "The Tim Fletcher Show,"on 1130 The Tiger.


Courtesy: Michael White
White: "Just driving down I-20 east, coming home from Final Four, going with the flow of traffic in the left lane, car went straight left. No warning. Didn’t hit deep water. Don’t ever, ever drive on the interstate when it’s raining that hard."

Me: So you’re car veered to the left and then what happens?

White:"It was obviously split second thoughts going through your mind. First, you hit the grass. You’re going down the hill… 'should I hit the brakes, what am I doing with the steering wheel.' Then, ‘Boom’, before you know it, you’re 5 feet from the wall, and you’re looking at the 18 wheelers coming at you head first on I-20 west… and then my thought, ‘please Lord don’t let us go over this wall or it’s over.’ Before that, halfway through your head, you’ve hit the wall so hard, our heads hit the airbags to the left, the left of my head drilled the airbag so hard. Then we started spinning so fast and then we start flipping and then we start slowing down. At that point, we’ve weathered the storm and we’ve got to come to a stop and hopefully no one hits us.  

Courtesy: Michael White
Another thought, I hope we don’t flip back into traffic. At that point we were turned around and we were on our side when we came to a complete stop. You could see the traffic coming behind us… there were 30 cars right there. Thank God we were the only ones that had come off the road. If another car comes off the road, they would smash us.

What we do next? I said we have to get out of the car as soon as possible. I was with Kyle Church, he’s my director of basketball operations guy and he’s like, ‘No question before one of these cars drills us.’

I got out of my seat belt and landed straight on my head. I was up in the air, Kyle was under me. We got out of the second row door eventually. We had to go straight up, had to push the door straight up to get out. Kyle showed his athleticism, he was out in about 3 seconds and then helped this old man *(Michael White just turned 27 last month) get out.

We started to run across the Interstate as soon as possible. The other side of the Interstate was an off ramp. Eventually we made ourselves about 100 yards away from the off ramp. For the next 10 minutes, cars kept stopping and kept stopping. All they see is a Black Suburban on it’s side.  We kept yelling, 'We were the ones in it! We’re fine! Get out of here before someone hits you!'
Courtesy: Michael White

As y’all know, there were a ton of them (accidents)…from there to Ruston, I bet we saw another 10-15 cars where they were not supposed to be, on the pavement."

Me: Y’all both made it through without a scratch.

White: “Sore neck… and back, but I’ve been more sore during the season.”

Me: Who was your first phone call to?

White: "Called my wife right away, you're not thinking real clearly. I said,  ‘just in case you heard,' and how she could have heard… I had no idea how she would have heard since it happened 30 seconds ago. But,  'in case you heard, we’re fine and I’l call you back when we weather the storm over the next 10 or 15 minutes.'

Me: How did you make it home?

White: "It was A.D. of the year, Tommy McClelland to the rescue. He and his wife were driving home from Dallas and they were 10-15 minutes behind us, I don’t think I’ll see that Suburban again. We were back in Ruston in no time.

That’s a full service Athletic Director right there."