Man Ignored Evacuation Order, Asked to Pay for Rescue

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WEATHERFORD, Texas — A man who shot himself in the leg while stranded at home during flooding is being asked to reimburse the county for his swift-water rescue because he ignored evacuation orders.

Parker County commissioners voted Monday to bill Edward Musick for $1,573.68, the estimated rescue cost.

"We understand that in emergencies, we all share the burden, but this one could have been avoided," said County Judge Mark Riley, adding that a lien should be filed against Musick's property if he fails to pay.

Musick, 68, declined to comment, saying his attorney advised against it.

On June 27 Riley ordered 2,000 people to evacuate homes along the Brazos River, where heavy rain had caused severe flooding.

Authorities said Musick refused to leave his home, which is on stilts but was surrounded by 4 or 5 feet of water. About 1:30 a.m. on July 1, Musick, who had a gun to protect his property against looters, accidentally shot himself in the leg and called 911, authorities said.

Rescuers reached Musick's house in an inflatable boat, but a fence post cut a hole in it, so they had to swim. The rescue took about four hours because they had to put him in a basket and pull it across the water to a National Guard truck, Riley said.

County officials asked the fire marshal to tabulate the rescue's cost, using the $9-per-hour reimbursement rates set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Riley said.