Lakeville man injured cutting tree for wedding

LAKEVILLE — Friday afternoon, wedding plans for a local couple were postponed after a tree fell on the soon-to-be groom.

Toby Freehauf was cutting a slab of wood to be placed under the cake at his rustic country wedding planned Saturday to Amanda Rentz, when the tree fell onto his back. The accident happened when no one was around in the woods about a half mile behind his Kenilworth Road home.

Using his cell phone to call the Lakeville Fire Department for help, rescuers had to use a chainsaw to cut him out once they found his location on the property. They then carried him to an open field where he was airlifted to Memorial Hospital in South Bend. Rescuers said at the time Freehauf was airlifted, he could not feel his legs.

By Saturday, Freehauf regained feeling in his legs, toes and feet after having back surgery.

“Thank you everyone for all of your prayers,” Rentz said. “Angels were truly watching over Toby.”

She said that Freehauf’s nerve packet was not damaged like it was first believed, so he will fully recover.

“He did shatter his #4 vertebra,” Rentz said. “They had to place two steel rods and 12 screws down his spine to support his back.”

Rentz said her fiance will be in the hospital for at least two weeks before he is released, and recovery is planned for at least three months.

“He will have to wear a body brace as well as braces on his ankles/feet until he regains walking mobility,” she said. “Thank you so much for everyone’s support and prayers. Words cannot describe how amazing it feels to be surrounded by such amazing family and friends. We are forever grateful.”