Teens’ racing costs cyclist his leg

Staff writer

Curtis Girk, 31, of Peabody did not expect his life to change as he crested a hill on his motorcycle on June 11.

However, it changed in a second when he was sideswiped by a car racing another at 120th and Eagle Rd. and Injuries sustained in the accident resulted in the amputation of Girk’s left leg.

Police reports say two 17-year-olds were racing side-by-side, going west on 120th at 10:45 p.m. A 2007 Mazda sedan, owned and driven by Cody Wedel of Goessel, struck Girk’s eastbound motorcycle while illegally passing, injuring both Girk and his passenger, girlfriend Angela Soukup, 42, of Marion.

According to police reports Wedel and Casey Johnson of Galva, who was driving a Ford pickup that Wedel had been attempting to pass, said they were racing at the time.

“The two drivers of the cars stated they were driving at 85 mph,” sheriff’s deputy Duane McCarty said. “The driver in the car was passing on a hill in a no-passing zone, and when he saw the motorcycle he tried to swerve back into his lane so he would not hit it head on.”

The driver sideswiped the motorcycle while still going around 85 mph, McCarty said. Girk feared the worst.

“I almost missed the car, and when we hit I didn’t expect us to survive, but we did, and without using helmets we had no injuries or scrapes on our heads,” he said.

Girk was about 5 feet from the white line at the road’s edge in a safe spot to ride, McCarty said.

“The car had damage starting from the driver’s door to the rear bumper, and the motorcycle had damage on the left side from the side swipe and from sliding on the asphalt,” McCarty said.

The motorcycle slid nearly 58 feet from the initial impact site, Sheriff Robert Craft said, before landing on Girk and pinning his left leg. Soukup was lying about 15 feet behind the motorcycle, McCarty said.

“My left leg is amputated just beneath the knee,” Girk said in a Facebook post June 13. “I tried to take most of the impact on myself in hopes that Angela wouldn’t be hurt as bad. This is where I draw the line. I can put myself at risk but could never live with myself if something were to have happened to her.”

Soukup was transported to Newton Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries and has since been released. Girk suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to Wesley Medical Center.

“It should be a very long recovery and then the wait for a prosthetic and then building strength back in my leg and then maybe I can go back to work as a certified nurse’s assistant,” Girk said. “It should be around a year for me to be back to work, I hope.”

Wedel was charged with reckless driving, speeding, improper passing, and failure to wear a seatbelt, and Johnson was charged with reckless driving and speeding according to police reports.

Firefighters and first responders from Goessel, ambulances from Hillsboro and Peabody, and a helicopter ambulance all responded.

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