Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton suffers 2 back fractures in wreck
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered two transverse fractures in his lower back in a two-car collision near Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte Tuesday afternoon.
The wreck happened when a truck crashed and overturned on the S. Church Street Bridge at Interstate 277 just before 12:30 p.m.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Newton and the driver of the other vehicle were both taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
"Cam Newton is in fair condition and undergoing tests at Carolinas Medical Center and will remain there overnight for observation," the Panthers said in a statement released around 2:30 p.m.
Just before 3:30 p.m. officials delivered the news that Cam had suffered two transverse fractures in his lower back. A transverse fracture consists of a bone being broken perpendicular to the direction the bone runs.
Another car with damage to its front was loaded onto a flatbed tow truck, and a pickup truck reportedly belonging to the quarterback was seen on its side surrounded by debris.
The driver of the second vehicle is expected to be okay, according to police. No word on what led to the accident.
Karen Sullivan and Fred Clasen-Kelly were both standing outside their offices at the Charlotte Observer, when they heard the collision.
"You heard the sound, you saw the truck skidding across the road. And you wondered if someone had died right before your eyes," Clasen-Kelly said.
Sullivan didn't think anyone would survive the crash.
"You could hear glass shattering you could hear metal shattering. I didn't really think anyone would get out of the truck at that point," Sullivan said.
But the next moment, Clasen-Kelly tells WBTV he saw Newton climb out of the truck.
"As soon as he got out of the truck he was holding his arm out as if he was jsut trying to make it to the sidewalk. And that was as far as he could make it because he sort of collapsed onto the sidewalk and laid there as if something was wrong with his side," Clasen-Kelly said.
The intersection near the crash site is no stranger to accidents. According to the City of Charlotte's Department of Transportation, South Church St. and West Hill Street ranks fourth in the city for collisions, with 27 accidents occurring there between 2011 and 2013.
"It's a pretty busy street so you're always kind of on guard when you're out here," Sullivan said.
No word yet on if Newton will be able to play in Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Newton, 25, was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Panthers. In his first year, he became the only rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season and the first to rush for more than 700.
His best season with Carolina came in 2013, when he led the team to a 12-4 record and a first round bye in the playoffs. He has started every game since becoming the Panthers' QB, compiling a record of 29-31-1.
In 2010, the Atlanta native led the Auburn Tigers to a 14-0 record in his lone season with the team. The year culminated in Auburn defeating Oregon 22-19 to win the BCS Championship. He also led Blinn College to the junior college national championship in 2009.
Raw ground video of the scene posted on YouTube by The Charlotte Observer can be seen here.
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