Father who lost his son in a drunk-driving accident shares story with WKU football team

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Every day 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

The Lutzenkirchen family has experienced this first hand, dealing with the death of their son, Phillip in 2014 due to drinking and driving.

Western Kentucky University football players left workouts with a powerful message from Phillip's father, Mike on the effects of impaired driving.

It has been almost five years since Philip Lutzenkirchen, former star tight end at Auburn University, died in a single-car accident during after an early morning of bad decisions.

"Phillip was as recognized at Auburn for what he did on the field as he was off the field and he just had a giving heart and candidly the simplest answer is that I don't want other parents in my shoes," Lutzenkirchen said.

Since his death, his father has created the Lutzie 43 Foundation with the objective to inspire young people to make better decisions as drivers and friends.

"It was his number at Auburn, so everything we do is around my son's number," Lutzenkirchen said.

"There was a weekend that started on Friday, June 27th, 2014 and through a series of poor decisions that involved alcohol, late night driving, not wearing a seatbelt and speeding, Phillip was a passenger in a single passenger vehicle, and he lost his life," Lutzenkirchen said.

The Hilltoppers football team received that message and his story resonated with several players.

"Seeing that his son was a football player, seeing that the car crash can happen to a football player, obviously anything can happen to us. We're not immortal," said Devon Key, WKU football player.

Mike says Phillip lived a great life and did things the right way, but that weekend [he died] because of one bad decision.

"It just goes to show, whether you're white or black, you're a college football player or not, you're a 4.0 student or a 2.0, from where I am from you either say roll tide or war eagle, it doesn't matter, there is no discrimination when you have a serious of poor decisions. Phillip lost his life."

Mike says he confidently believes Phillip would be proud of the message he spreads across the country.

The foundation's motto for young students and athletes is to "live like Lutz, love like Lutz, and learn from Lutz, reflecting the desire to help others live out the many positive character attributes that Philip displayed while learning from the circumstances that led to his death.



 
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