The injuries were so serious, a Medevac flight had to be called in
After four-years of Cleetus and Cars shows held by Youtuber Garrett Mitchell, better known to his fans as Cleetus McFarland, their luck of having no serious injuries, ran out. According to video shot by attendees during a Cleetus and Cars event at Bradenton Motorsports park earlier this weekend, long-time C&C burnout participant Parker Whitlock in his Fox body buggy kart suffered shocking second and third-degree burns over most his body after a rear-mounted radiator hose exploded behind him, showering Whitlock with hot coolant in excess of 220 degrees.
Unfortunately, while it doesn’t look as bad as it plays out on video, according to Whitlock’s Go Fund Me, the injuries are really that bad.
Check out the footage of the burnout and accident for yourself below.
In the video we can see Whitlock in the burnout pit taking his Fox Body’s 5.0 V8 to redline and holding it there as he shreds his tires into smoke and smithereens. Anyone who knows anything about cars knows redlining a car without proper airflow to the engine is one of the worst things you can do.
Without cool, clean air to transfer heat out of the coolant, your car’s cooling system can only take so much. Whitlock’s radiator, mounted in the rear, is quickly overcome, and blows, spewing hot coolant on Whitlock. Without proper protection, with only jeans and a cotton hoodie, the hot coolant hits Whitlock’s skin, severely burning him.
Mitchell, the show’s organizer, can be seen in the background providing commentary and seeing what he calls, “the show’s first serious injury” play out in front of him.
Emergency team members whisk Whitlock away out of sight where he’s treated and helicoptered to a local hospital for treatment and eventually surgery.
A Go Fund Me set up by Whitlock’s fiance has already raised over $30,000 as of this writing towards its $100,000 goal.
In an update posted earlier today,
“We got some messages from hospital saying they started Parker’s surgery and it said it was going as planned. We will know more later and will continue to update. Thank you so much to everyone, it means the world to us ❤️”
Mitchell posted up a video of the event shortly after the incident and largely did not address Whitlock’s injuries. In an update video on his second channel addressing the issue, Mitchell claims he did not speculate and respond to comments because he wanted to make sure he got all the facts.
According to Mitchell,
“The radiator was in the back of Parker’s car. Typically, with the radiator being on the front of the cars, this wouldn’t have been an issue but his radiator being on the back of his car, he was doing a massive burnout and, as we know the coolant temperatures, they heat up and heat up and heat up well, it hasn’t been a problem before but unfortunately his radiator hose separated from the radiator blasting hot water on his back and arms.
At this point Parker started getting out of the car, our guys ran over and grabbed him and immediately took him over to the EMS truck and put a burn kit on him. We always have the burn kits available because with burnouts there’re fires, there’s coolant and things like that, so we’ve always been prepared for this moment.
I believe they’re doing grafts on his back and arms, and the rest of the second degree stuff, they’re hoping will heal on its own.”
Addressing safety issues
Mitchell addressed clear gaps in his event’s safety protocols
“From here forward, there’s no doubt that we have to take our safety measures more serious. Everyone needs to be in a full fire suit, covered up from head to toe. The more serious we take it, the more we can prevent incidents like this.“
It’s unfortunate and the natural progression of safety that incidents like this are breaking points to where better safety protocols are implemented. Mitchell is seriously lucky Whitlock only suffered burns which, I’m sure, he’ll quickly recover from.
Let Mitchell’s first serious incident at his event be a cautionary tale to all motorsport event organizers. You can never go overboard on safety protocols and it’s better to be safe than sorry.