An Oklahoma man dies while shooting off fireworks. Just moments before that, he was having a good time with friends in rural McClain County. He wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary until he decided to hold one of the fireworks in his hand and then held it above his head.
“Big ol’ teddy bear,” said Teddy Potts. “He was like a brother to me.”
His name is Patrick Hughes, but his friends called him Pat. He was just 26 years old and hadn't lived in Oklahoma very long. Teddy met Pat at work, and he and his wife, Brittney, immediately took him in and invited Pat over to celebrate the Fourth of July. Pat was excited and stocked up for the weekend. He sent Teddy a picture of all the fireworks he'd bought - fireworks that would take his life.
“My wife saw him with his hands above his head and the embers falling, and she went to screaming at him, ‘That’s not a good idea!’ I turned to her, and then I heard it go off,” Teddy said.
“I screamed no and went to run toward him, and that’s when it exploded,” Brittney said.
“I rushed to him, and it was too late,” Teddy said.
Investigators said a fireworks shell was put in upside down inside a launching tube, and it came out the bottom, hitting Pat in the head.
Teddy and his wife called 911. They used a shirt to try to keep Pat's head from bleeding until firefighters got there and rushed him to the hospital, where he later died.
Investigators said what happened was just a tragic accident.
“We can’t stress enough that fireworks are dangerous. They are not meant to be held,” said McClain County Sheriff’s Detective, Dana Guthrie. “They need to be placed on solid surfaces, and please follow directions, because we don’t want more incidents like this to occur.”
It is an accident that continues to replay over and over in Teddy's mind.
“I see him lying there every day,” said Teddy. “It’s like a bad dream. I just wish I could ask him what he was thinking.”
Teddy Potts admits he and Pat were drinking alcohol. However, detectives say this was a heartbreaking and preventable accident.