UPDATED 9:25 pm: Cory Mackay's accident

A WASHINGTON STATE Patrol spokesman told Cougfan.com on Friday that Cory Mackay was conscious and had to be cut out of his significantly damaged Nissan pickup after he fell asleep at the wheel and drove off Highway 26 Thursday evening near Washtucna. Mackay, expected to start at defensive end for WSU this fall, was heading home to Redmond following final exams in Pullman.

Mackay's Nissan was seen drifting off the right side of the highway Thursday around 5:20 pm. It crossed into a field and then hit a drainage ditch that sent the vehicle airborne, said Sgt. Brad Hudson of the State Patrol's Colfax detachment. The pickup landed on the passenger side and then rolled onto and came to rest on its top near Thiel Road, he said.

Aid units were on the scene within 10 minutes and the State Patrol arrived shortly later.

MacKay was airlifted to Kadlec Medical Center in Richland and then transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he is reported to be in stable condition in the intensive care unit.

Hudson said it wasn't clear if MacKay was wearing a seatbelt, but said it was his understanding that Mackay told an officer at the scene that he wasn't wearing a belt. Air bags deployed.

The accident occurred outside of Washtucna, about 70 miles west of Pullman.

A release from Washington State University didn't say what Mackay's injuries were or mention the severity, but Hudson said MacKay told rescue personnel he had no feeling below his waist.

Late Friday, Steve Supple, an assistant football coach at Mackay's alma mater, Eastlake High, said he was told Mackay underwent several hours of surgery today for "some type of fractures in the spine and possible paralysis."

No other details were available, but the Seattle Times quotes Mackay's sister as saying her brother has a broken back but no spinal cord damage.

The 6-foot-4 Mackay, who had beefed up to 257 pounds this offseason, had an excellent spring session and appeared poised to grab a starting job this fall. He redshirted last season as a true freshman following a star-studded prep career at Eastlake High.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Cory and his family at this time," said coach Paul Wulff in the statement.

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