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Firefighter gets much support after car accident

By Staff | Feb 10, 2016

Carl Johanson PHOTO PROVIDED

The firefighters, medics and EMT responders of the Sanibel Fire Department have treated hundreds, if not thousands, people who were in need of medical attention throughout the years of service on the island.

But on a late Sunday morning, Jan. 24, the call for a head-on collision on the Sanibel Causeway C span became an overwhelming wave of emotions for the SFD rescuers who responded to it.

In one of the vehicles was their friend and co-worker, SFD firefighter Carl Johanson, who was pinned inside his vehicle after a head-on collision.

“It was a shock,” said A Shift Captain Medic Robert Popkin. “Carl is one of my guys and when we arrived at the scene, it was found out it was Carl. But I have to tip my hat to the guys, they didn’t let their emotions affect the way they did their job. They just did their job well and let their muscle memory and training kick in. They did what they had to do.”

But after Johanson was freed from his vehicle and he was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital, emotions ran high back at the SFD hall.

Carl Johanson’s Sanibel Fire Department’s friends and workmates, had to work to get him out of his vehicle, after he was pinned in it after a head-on collision on the Sanibel Causeway Jan. 24. PHOTO PROVIDED

“It was tough after,” Popkin said. “But the outpouring of care and the responses we’ve had for Carl has been tremendous.”

Johanson, who was inbound to the island that morning, suffered multiple injuries, including internal injuries and broken bones. The other driver in the incident, 17-year-old Jacob Roy Marchetti of Fort Myers, was cited by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for careless driving.

In the report, it was said Marchetti was leaving the island and his vehicle had cross the double-yellow center line and struck Johanson’s head-on. Marchetti suffered no injuries.

There is a Go Fund Me page for Johanson, which has already raised $11,603 since Friday, Feb. 5.

The Johanson Go Fund Me page can be found at www.gofundme.com/6ffhs67u

The aftermath of Carl Johanson’s car accident on the Sanibel Causeway Jan. 24. The other driver, 17-year-old Jacob Roy Marchetti of Fort Myers, was issued a citation by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for careless driving. PHOTO PROVIDED

“Carl is improving, but he will be going through his struggles,” Popkin said. “The support being shown, though, has been amazing. Ever since that first night, we’ve seen support not by just our guys, but by different fire departments, EMS, police and private citizens. We had to raise the ceiling of our goal after the outpouring of support.”

Johanson still has a long road of recovery and rehab ahead, but he will have a bevy of people in his corner urging him on.

“When there’s a brother down and out, we are there to help and we are keeping our expectations for a speedy recovery at the top of our list,” Popkin said. “The support he has received has been very heartwarming, as well.”