Nine-time Chiefs Pro Bowl LB Derrick Thomas was seriously injured yesterday in a single-car accident on Interstate 435 in north Kansas City, Mo., that killed one person and injured another, police said.
Thomas and another passenger, who was pronounced dead at the scene, were thrown from the vehicle, according to the Kansas City Star.
At the Liberty (Mo.) Hospital emergency room, Thomas, 33, reportedly had no feeling in his legs.
A close friend, who asked not to be identified, said physicians made a preliminary diagnosis that Thomas was suffering from a broken vertebra in his back and that his spinal cord had been damaged, but not severed.
Physicians also said he may be able to walk again, though not play football, the friend said.
Reports from the Missouri Highway Patrol identified the man who was killed as Michael D. Tellis, 49, of Kansas City, Kan., a friend of Thomas's who once was a business partner in a limousine venture.
A third man, John C. Hagebusch, 34, of Raymore, Mo., suffered minor injuries in the accident. He was taken to Liberty Hospital but was not admitted. Only Hagebusch was wearing his seat belt, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Thomas reportedly on his way to Kansas City International Airport to catch a flight to St. Louis for the NFC title game, where he had sideline passes.
According to the police report, Thomas was driving about 1:30 p.m. when he lost control of the vehicle on the snow- and ice-covered road. The car traveled into the median and rolled several times.
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