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Papa John’s founder says wearing a helmet saved his life

SHARE Papa John’s founder says wearing a helmet saved his life

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A day after leaving the hospital, Papa John's founder John Schnatter said he believes wearing a helmet saved his life when he was involved in a bicycle crash Wednesday.

"I really feel blessed," Schnatter said in a telephone interview.

He said he fractured the pointy tips of two vertebrae in his back, but is able to sit, stand and move around.

"I took a hell of a lick, but I'm OK," he said.

Curtis Tolson, another cyclist injured in the crash, was released from the hospital Friday. An attempt to reach him at home was unsuccessful.

Tolson, Schnatter and Tracy Huber were riding early Wednesday evening when, according to Schnatter and Huber, a biology textbook coming from an oncoming pickup hit Tolson.

Tolson went down and Schnatter fell over him. Huber, who avoided the crash, has said that she gave the book to Louisville Metro Police.

Police are still investigating, but have no suspects and have been unable to locate the book, spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said.

Police released a more detailed description of the pickup: a brown or gold late-1980s extended-cab Chevy S-10 or Ford F-150. The pickup has been described as having louvers on the rear window, Smiley said.

Huber has said she believes the book was intentionally thrown from the pickup.

Schnatter said he can't say for sure - and hopes the book accidentally flew from truck and that the driver panicked and left.

He said he hopes someone will come forward so that everyone can move on.

"I just don't want to jump to conclusions that this was something malicious," he said, although he added that he's "having trouble" understanding how the book could have gone forward and not to the rear of the truck - if it had been an accident.

Schnatter also said he doesn't know if he'll continue cycling.

"Once you go over those handlebars, it's along way down," he said, adding that he's played football and raced motorcycles but never felt an impact like falling from the bike.

"I hit so hard I literally thought I didn't have a helmet on," he said.