Wausau man looks back after surviving crash - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau man looks back after surviving crash


A Wausau man who lost his right arm in a motorcycle crash two years ago got the chance to say thank you to some of the members of the rescue crew who helped save his life.

Derrick Baptist was also given the opportunity to ride in the same Aspirus MedEvac helicopter that airlifted him to a Madison area hospital. The crew even flew him over the field in Kronenwetter where he crashed his motorcycle in 2010.

Baptiste doesn't remember the first time he rode in a MedEvac helicopter.

"I had hit a tree which took off my arm," he said, adding that he doesn't remember much from the day of the crash.

Emergency crews found Baptist unconscious in the middle of a field at South Road and County Road X in the Kronenwetter area. He was severely injured.

"We called Aspirus and asked to go directly to Madison because of his condition," pilot Ralph Sliwicki said.

The Wausau man had several broken bones and a punctured lung. Doctors were unable to save his right arm, but they say the choice to airlift him from the scene to a Madison hospital saved his life.

"It's nice being able to see them again and I just appreciate what they've done for me," Baptist said.

After two years of rehab, he's moving forward.

"They saved my life and I mean it was a miracle what everybody got me through that night," he said.

He even plans to fly again. "I've always liked helicopters and I wanted to become a pilot before my accident. I still would like to become a pilot someday."

Flight crew members said his story is inspiring them, too.

"Everyone says they live for today, but live for tomorrow and enjoy life...know that tomorrow is another day," Sliwicki said.

Baptiste said that's exactly what he plans to do. His doctors and physical therapist hope to raise enough money to get Baptist fitted for a prosthetic limb.

For more information on how you can help in his recovery, you can call physical therapist Rachel Bredle at 715-384-9300.

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