Arkansas mother appreciates support

Published 11:59 pm Friday, May 22, 2009

To the community of Opp,

On May 17, my son, Phillip Hickman, was involved in a tragic car accident north of your town. His two friends and he were on a graduation trip to Panama City Beach, when the car hydroplaned into an on-coming pick-up. The young lady driving was killed and the young man in the back seat sustained several injuries. Phillip was in the passenger seat and thankfully wearing his seat belt. He was able to crawl out of the car and suffered relatively minor injuries.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest gratitude to the people who gave their aid. The State Trooper (whose name I never got), Sheriff Meeks, the rescue team and hospital staff were incredibly kind. We lived in northwest Arkansas, and when I got the call from a good Samaritan traveling from Kentucky, one can imagine the absolute panic I was in. I was able to talk with Phillip until the ambulance came. At that point, I hit the road to make the 12-hour drive.

Sheriff Meeks called to let me know that Phillip was going to be all right physically, but was taking the news of losing one of his best friends extremely hard.  Sheriff Meeks informed me that my son would be discharged from the hospital and that he would find a place where Phillip could stay and be cared for emotionally until I could arrive. His concern for my son was above and beyond. He took Phillip to Debra, a wonderfully kind lady. She gave Phillip the care he needed, even washing his clothes, because he could still smell the wreck on them. She took him to the hospital later that evening to see his best buddy, fed him and put him to bed. I arrived at 5 a.m., waking the Sheriff and Debra up, and forgiving for the early hour. They understood my desire to have my son with me as soon as possible.

Thank you, everyone! We will never forget the help you gave. God bless you all.


Sheila Hatfield