CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
SPICEWOOD — Despite a number of broken ribs and a punctured lung after a collision, 55-year-old volunteer firefighter Craig Schlicke said he would like to get back to work as soon as he can.
“I just got to rest a little while and get myself back in gear,” he said.
The incident, which started as a dispatched call about a three-car accident, occurred about 6 p.m. Dec. 5 on Texas 71 about a mile west of the Spicewood General Store, which is located at the intersection of Spur 191.
The incident turned out to be motorists checking on an abandoned vehicle on the shoulder of the highway. Schlicke found the scene and began to maneuver off the highway to offer assistance.
“What I was doing was stopping in the westbound traffic to make a U-turn, waiting for the traffic to come by and, at that time, a truck hit me coming 70 miles per hour behind me. I ended up in the westbound ditch,” he said. “It happened so quick. When I stopped in the truck, I couldn’t breathe, snapped my seatbelt (open), fell down on the ground, got up on my knees and that’s when I could breath a little bit.”
The driver of the pickup that collided with Schlicke reportedly left the scene of the accident on foot and remains at-large, he said.
Meanwhile, Spicewood Volunteer Fire and EMS personnel on the scene treated Schlicke until Marble Falls Area EMS arrived to transport him to University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin.
“It’s very emotional for everybody,” said Spicewood Volunteer Fire/EMS Director Patsy Lester, who was at the scene. “Firefighters are all like one big family, so when you see somebody from your group (in that state), it’s very hard to deal with.”
Schlicke’s hospital stay was three days. With the assistance of fellow firefighters and the community, he has begun to heal.
“The fire department has workman’s comp, but there’s a big delay,” said Patsy Lester, Spicewood Volunteer EMS director. “Right now, we’re getting donations from individuals” to help with medical bills.
Since the accident, the agency also received a donation from the Hoover’s Valley Volunteer Fire Department.
“I really am grateful because they understand the situation of not being able to work,” she said. “They are willing to help him out.”
Schlicke said he lacks health insurance, so the assistance from the agencies and groups such as the 100 Club will make a difference.
“I just thank everybody for helping me,” he said.
Serving for the volunteer agency for most of two decades, Schlicke said he would not allow the accident to derail him from future service.
“The doctor said I’ll probably be out of work for two months with these broke ribs,” he said. “I’m going to go back. I love it. If you fall off the horse, you get back and keep on going.”
To find out how to help, call (830) 693-7136 or go by the Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department, 9805 Texas 71 in western Burnet County.