Florida motorcyclist sustains 3rd-degree burns after driver flicks cigarette butt
PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) - A Pensacola man is in intensive care, recovering from third-degree burns.
On Jan. 31, Caleb Dunn was heading home on I-87 on his motorcycle, when a driver in front of him flicked a cigarette butt out the window.
"Next thing I knew, my side was burning red hot, I could barely keep my hands on the handlebars," said Dunn. "I looked back and I could see orange flames coming out around my neck and around the side of the jacket."
The 24-year-old managed to drive off the road, jump off the bike and unzip his jacket, revealing just shreds of what had been his hoodie.
"I don't know how to describe it," said Dunn. "I've never been in so much pain in my life."
Airlifted to the University of South Alabama Medical Center, Dunn is currently in the ICU burn trauma center. Third-degree burns cover 25 percent of his body.
"It wraps around half my chest, all the way down my stomach, all over my bicep and up in my armpit," said Dunn.
"The only thing I did was just pray the whole way there that he was OK," said Dunn's friend, Lindsay Larney.
Larney couldn't believe what had happened.
"It's hard to see somebody that you care so much for laying there in a hospital bed," said Larney.
A freak accident is how she refers to it, but she's got a strong message for smokers: "Don't flick your cigarette out the window; use your ashtray, use a bottle," said Larney. "It can cause a lot of harm."
Dunn's burned body is now covered in artificial skin called Integra.
"It's helping the healing process and keeping germs and bacteria out," he said. "Eventually, my body will reject it when it gets to a certain point, and I'll be able to do skin grafts."
Dunn's recovery is just beginning. He will be in the ICU for several more weeks and it will be months before he's allowed to leave the hospital.
(WARNING: The photos below are graphic. Viewer discretion advised.)