Austin firefighter in coma after being hit by truck


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist CHRIS GARCIA

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 21 at 4:41 PM

AUSTIN -- An Austin firefighter who has dedicated his life to saving others is now fighting for his own. Colin Camp is in critical condition after going on a bicycle ride on Manchaca Road near Slaughter Lane Tuesday afternoon.

"Colin was again, riding, working out, as he did everyday, doing the right things. He was wearing a helmet. He was riding in the bike lane when he was struck," said Austin Fire Department Battalion Chief Palmer Buck.

Camp was riding in the shoulder when a pickup truck hit him from behind, throwing his body more than 50 feet.

"He was literally hit in the back tire, and he hit the truck, flipped backwards over the truck and landed directly on his head and slid," described Donald Morrow.

Morrow owns the TMT Local Food food trailer park just a few feet away from where Camp was hit. He jumped the fence and ran to help.

"He's unconscious, but his eyes are open, and he's just deep breathing. Involuntary deep breathing, and he was bleeding from everywhere," Morrow added. 

Chantel Ullrich, a former EMT, works at one of the food trailers. She was the first person to get to camp.

"I just pretty much just held his hand. I tried to talk to him. I tried to keep him as still as possible," Ullrich said. "He's an Austin firefighter, and so I know that if he was in my situation, he would have been right there helping me."

As a crowd rushed to Camp's side, witnesses say the man who hit him tried to drive off. Ullrich snapped a picture of his truck, the driver side of the windshield cracked, the hood dented from the crash.

"There was a family going northbound, saw it happen, did a U-turn, got right behind the bicyclist and noticed that the truck was kind of stopped, but slowly going, and that truck started to drive off," said Morrow. "So one of the guys jumped out of the car and chased him down and stopped the truck."

The driver, 60-year-old Stephen Murphy was arrested and charged with failure to stop and render aid and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. According to an arrest affidavit, Murphy told Austin police officers that he took Ambien, a prescription sleep aid, at 2:00 p.m.

Murphy is now in the Travis County Jail with bond set at $25,000. 

Despite wearing a helmet, Camp was knocked unconscious. The six-year veteran of the Austin Fire Department was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge where he is in a coma in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit. 

Camp works at the fire station on Parmer Lane, where he specializes in building collapse rescues, as well as water and road rescues and hazardous material response. Members of the fire department describe Camp as a standout and very athletic.

"Colin is one of our best firefighters -- very kind and well-liked gentlemen. And all of our firefighters are hoping for a very quick recovery," Battalion Chief Palmer Buck with AFD said.

Camp just finished riding in the BP MS 150 and was training for the Hotter Than Hell ride coming up in August.