The 47-year-old Mesilla Park man is recovering at a Texas burn center after being found on the U.S. 70 bridge over Del Rey Boulevard just before 7 p.m. Monday, with "significant" burns to his leg, buttocks, his plastic prosthesis "and what was left of his sock," according to Las Cruces Police Department reports.
In addition to "the burnt remains" of his clothing, an officer also found a 5-inch tube stuffed with wire mesh, which appeared to have been used as a smoking pipe.
The cause of the burns, the man told police, was losing a drinking game for having "only drank a six-pack," according to the police report.
As punishment, his three friends set his jeans and his prosthesis on fire and let the material -- then his flesh -- burn and blacken until he "could not stand the pain of wearing clothes" and stripped down to his shoes, the police report states.
When he couldn't stand the flames any more, he asked for a ride from his friend's home on
Before police arrived, the man
ended up throwing his cigarettes and wallet into the bed of a truck, whose occupants locked the door and drove off when they saw he was naked. (The motorist later contacted police to return the man's wallet.)
No criminal charges were filed against the men who set him on fire or left him on the highway, and the man told police he didn't once try to stop them.
"If they had lost the bet," the man told police, "he would have done the same to them."