Son of Alabaster councilman making ‘steady improvement’ after wreck

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The son of an Alabaster councilman is making “slow, steady improvement” at an Atlanta-based physical therapy facility after he was involved in a serious automobile crash in November 2010, according to his family members and Alabaster officials.

Kyle Hicks

Kyle Hicks, son of Ward 2 Alabaster Councilman Bob Hicks, was severely injured Nov. 25, 2010 when his truck lost control, left the road and struck two trees near the intersection of Yancy Drive and Aviation Road in Bessemer.

After the wreck, paramedics transported Hicks to UAB Hospital, where he was treated for several weeks before being transported to the Atlanta clinic.

“Right after the accident, we didn’t know if he was going to make it,” Alabaster Mayor David Frings said shortly after speaking with Bob Hicks Jan. 25. “Now he’s out of the woods from just making it.”

Hicks, who was home visiting his family for the holidays when the wreck happened, was scheduled to deploy to the Middle East with the Army about a week after the incident.

Hicks’ military training may have helped him survive the ordeal and make steady improvement since the accident, Frings said.

“The shape he was in from his military training probably kept him from leaving us,” Frings said. “He was very strong, and he has always been a headstrong young man.”

During a recent Alabaster City Council meeting, Bob Hicks and Frings praised his son’s friend Eric Cohen, who was riding with Kyle Hicks when the accident occurred.

Although Cohen, an Army private first class who is on active duty, suffered several serious injuries, such as broken ribs and an injured spleen, in the wreck, he provided emergency CPR to Kyle Hicks at the wreck scene before medical personnel arrived.

“He administered first aid on the scene, and is very much responsible for Kyle Hicks’ continuing improvement,” Frings said.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Private First Class Cohen is the reason that Kyle is still with us today,” Bob Hicks said during the meeting.

After Kyle Hicks’ condition stabilized at UAB, his family relocated him to the Atlanta clinic to undergo intense physical therapy for several weeks. For about eight hours every day, clinic staff members help Hicks re-learn motor, speech and problem-solving skills affected by his injuries.

Since Kyle arrived at the clinic, he has been steadily improving.

“He has been making steady improvements. It’s just going to be a very long road,” Frings said. “Bob said he just talked to Kyle, and he was able to hear ‘Hey’ and ‘I love you.’

“Will he make a full recovery? I think the jury is still out on that,” Frings said. “The doctors don’t know if he will be able to return to active military duty.”

The wave of community support the Hicks family received after the wreck has not subsided.

“Bob said he really appreciates all the calls, letters, tweets, Facebook posts and everything else. He said it has really helped to keep him going,” Frings said. “A lot of times, people will show up right after an accident and then just disappear.

“But everyone has had continued contact and supported their family this whole time,” Frings added. “He has been very amazed by that.”